JDC has just put up an excellent post about Holford, Burne and Serotonin pills: noting that, while Jerome Burne is given space on Holford’s blog to argue for the need to “Save NHS money on ineffective drugs, not homeopathy”, Holford’s own recommendations for depression are neither cheap nor based on good evidence. I think that two further things are worth emphasising re this post on Holford’s blog:
- Firstly, the fact that the NHS spends money on various treatments which are worse than useless (clearly, it does – with, for example, doctors prescribing antibiotics where they are not needed) does not mean that one should not criticise the provision of ineffective treatments such as homeopathy on the NHS. On the contrary, one should argue against all such misuse of NHS funds.
- Secondly, Burne has also written positively about some approaches to mental health problems which are both expensive and lacking a good evidence base. For example, one might note Burne’s piece discussing Daniel G. Amen’s work on SPECT scans.*
It is important to be critical of improper use of public funds and inappropriate assessment and presentation evidence – whether this is done in the name of ‘alternative’ medicine, or just medicine. I look forward to seeing Burne applying the same scepticism to the work of people such as Patrick Holford and Daniel G. Amen as he applies here to the use of drugs without (in some cases) appropriate evidence.
* In 2008, an Amen Clinic Evaluation cost $3,300. However, there was not and is not good evidence of the efficacy of this approach to diagnosis and treatment.