Prince Charles Commissions Report on Complementary Medicine Savings

Prince Charles has commissioned a report into how complementary medicine could help the UK National Health Service save money.

The Prince of Wales asked a former chief economics adviser to Barclays Bank to see where money could be saved by avoiding traditional drug treatments. Leaked draft conclusions in The Times suggest millions of pounds could be saved if one in 10 GPs offered homeopathy as an alternative to standard drugs, and further savings from switching from anti-depression drugs to St. John's Wort and from pharmaceutical drugs to chiropractic for back pain.

The report has stirred a debate about the safety efficacy of complementary medicine and the National Health Service.

Colleague Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary and alternative medicine at the University of Exeter, apparently told The Times that scientific evidence showed providing alternative therapies could mean a net cost. All the evidence though is not out, since cost-effectiveness as well as effectiveness studies remain to be done.