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Logo of bmjThis ArticleThe BMJ
BMJ. 2007 October 13; 335(7623): 736.
PMCID: PMC2018783

What to do about CAM?

David Colquhoun, professor of pharmacology

Doug Kamerow seems excessively tolerant of people who make lots of money out of unproved and disproved treatments.1

I prefer the straight talking of his compatriot, Gerald Weissmann, “If the trend persists, perhaps MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] or Cal Tech will march in step with the medical schools and offer prizes for integrative alchemy or alternative engineering.”2 Or Wallace Sampson, “It is time for Congress to defund the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). After ten years of existence and over $200 million in expenditures, it has not proved effectiveness for any ‘alternative' method. It has added evidence of ineffectiveness of some methods that we knew did not work before NCCAM was formed.”3

That is something that could be done—the expenditure on NCCAM is now close to $1bn (£0.5bn; €0.7bn).

In the UK National Health Service, primary care trusts are, quite rightly, withdrawing funding from homoeopathy. Tunbridge Wells Homeopathic Hospital will close and the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital is in great danger.4 5 Something has been done, at last.


Competing interests: None declared.


1. Kamerow D. Wham, bam, thank you CAM. BMJ 2007;335:647 (29 September.) [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Weissmann G. Homeopathy: Holmes, Hogwarts, and the Prince of Wales. FASEB J 2006;20:1755-8. [PubMed]
3. Sampson WI. Why the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) should be defunded.
4. DC's improbable science. Tunbridge Wells Homeopathic Hospital to close. 2007.
5. DC's improbable science. The Royal London Homeopathic Hospital (RLHH) has problems 2007.

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