Britain’s Prince Charles has come under fire after becoming the patron of a group that endorses homeopathic medicine.
The Prince of Wales, who is next in line to the throne, was announced as a patron of the Faculty of Homeopathy (FoH) on Wednesday.
The FoH is a British professional body that regulates and promotes homeopathy, a form of complementary medicine based on the philosophy that “like cures like.” In homeopathy, if something causes a symptom in your body, you take it in a diluted form to boost your body’s ability to fight it. These remedies typically include a plant or a mineral in a tiny amount.
“It is an enormous honor for us to receive the Patronage of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales,” FoH President Gary Smyth said in a statement.
“I look forward to working with members, friends and supporters of the Faculty, continuing our important work, promoting homeopathy within both public and professional circles and maintaining awareness of this system of medicine.”
However, the Good Thinking Society – a nonprofit organization that promotes evidence-based science, which has campaigned against homeopathy – called Charles’ endorsement “obscene,” adding that it was a “missed opportunity” and “counter-productive” to support such a cause with “so many pressing health issues in the world today.”
“This news is sadly no surprise, given how routinely Prince Charles has used his royal platform to advocate for an anti-science position when it comes to homeopathy, but it is obscene to think that the UK’s next head of state believes this is an appropriate issue to use his considerable public profile to promote,” the group said in a statement posted online.
“If Prince Charles wants to have a genuine positive effect on the health of the nation he intends to one day rule, he should side against those who offer dangerously misleading advice, rather than fighting their corner.”
A spokesperson for Clarence House, the official residence of the prince and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, defended the patronage, saying Charles “believes that safe and effective, complementary medicine can play an important role in healthcare systems, as long as approaches are integrated with conventional treatments, a position he has reached after years of talking to experts in many different areas of medicine.”
In 2010, the UK Parliament’s House of Commons Science and Technology committee presented a report that called homeopathic remedies “scientifically implausible” and no different to placebos.
It added that homeopathy’s principle of treating “like-with-like” by using substances that cause similar symptoms in a healthy person, is “theoretically weak” and that this is the “settled view of medical science.”
In a statement, the FoH reiterated that homeopathy “should be seen as a complementary treatment rather than an alternative to conventional medicine,” adding that both “can work very well together.”