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Last Updated: Oct 11, 2012 - 10:22:56 PM
Systematic Review
BMJ Volume 331, pp 880-1
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Cost effectiveness of complementary treatments in the United Kingdom

Oct 14, 2005 - 9:43:00 PM
More doubts are cast over the cost effectiveness of complementary medicine in this week’s BMJ.

[RxPG] The cost-effectiveness of using complementary treatments in the United Kingdom has been the subject of much speculation and controversy.

For instance, a report commissioned by the Prince of Wales last week said that complementary therapies should be given a greater role in the NHS, while others believe that more studies are needed before they are made widely available.

As an example of how poor the evidence is, researchers carried out a systematic review of cost effectiveness analyses of complementary treatments. They found only five studies done in the UK before April 2005, one of acupuncture for headache and four of spinal manipulation for back pain.

They conclude that these treatments represent an additional cost to usual care with questionable clinical benefit.

In an accompanying editorial, two senior doctors and general practice researchers suggest that complementary medicine should be considered for inclusion in national clinical guidelines despite limited evidence of cost effectiveness.

They believe that the integration into the NHS of specific complementary therapies for chronic conditions would be beneficial to patients, but that each therapy needs to be considered on its merits, including cost-effectiveness.

Publication: British Medical Journal Issue Dated 15 October 2005 (Vol 331, No 7521)
On the web: Read full text article on http://bmj.com 

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 Additional information about the news article
(Cost effectiveness of complementary treatments in the United Kingdom: systematic review)

BMJ Volume 331, pp 880-1

(Editorial: Complementary therapies and the NHS)

BMJ Volume 331, pp 856-7
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