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NHS England welcomes court victory on homeopathy prescribing ban

The High Court has rejected a legal challenge by the British Homeopathic Association to overturn plans for the NHS to no longer routinely fund homeopathy.

NHS England welcomed the court victory, which comes after it published guidance to stop prescriptions for 18 low clinical priority treatments such as some dietary supplements, herbal treatments and homeopathy.

Chief executive Simon Stevens called the legal challenge ‘costly and spurious’, stating that homeopathy is a ‘misuse of scarce NHS funds’.

This follows recent research found that over 2,700 homeopathy prescriptions were issued by GP practices between December 2016 and May 2017, costing a total of £36,532.

Alongside stopping homeopathy, NHS England has also clamped down on over-the-counter prescriptions.

Earlier this year it published a list of 35 minor, short-term conditions for which over the counter medicines should not routinely be prescribed, claiming that this could save around £100m a year.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens responded to the court ruling, and said: ‘There is no robust evidence to support homeopathy which is at best a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds.

‘So we strongly welcome the High Court’s clear cut decision to kick out this costly and spurious legal challenge.’

Last month researchers revealed that GPs are writing one million fewer prescriptions for low-priority treatments but that price hikes have led to a rise in the overall spending.

BMA GP committee prescribing lead Dr Andrew Green welcomed the news via Twitter.