Is homeopathic treatment cost effective?

Health economic research aims to establish a scientific basis for efficient distribution of limited healthcare and financial resources, whilst also ensuring a consistent delivery of high-quality care to patients. The health economic methods used to assess cost-effectiveness of conventional medical treatments can also be applied to homeopathy.

A systematic review published in 2024 provides an overview of cost-effectiveness studies of homeopathy1. In all 21 studies included in the review, homeopathy showed similar or better clinical effectiveness compared to the control groups, with a clear positive trend for cost-effectiveness and a statistically significant increase in study quality over the years.


This review1 by Prof. Thomas Ostermann (Witten/Herdecke University, Germany) included 15 studies examined in a previous 2014 review2, plus 6 additional studies. The findings from these 21 studies showed a clear positive trend, as summarised below:

*2 of these studies were shown to be cost-effective through incremental cost effectiveness analysis.

Two independent researchers assessed the quality of the studies using the CHEC list, specifically designed for use with economic evaluations. CHEC scores ranged from 2 to 16 (out of a maximum score of 19): studies published before 2009 had a lower mean score (6.7 ± 3.4) than those published in or after 2009 (9.4 ± 4.3).

It is worth noting that the two most recently published studies included in the review3,4 are among those with the highest quality rating. In addition to a well-chosen study design, both used state-of-the-art economic evaluations. The authors of the updated review stress the importance of maintaining this level of excellence in future economic evaluations of homeopathy.

The highest quality individual cost-effectiveness study4 assessed the impact of an ‘over-the-counter’ homeopathic medicinal product, SilAtro-5-90 . A 2017 clinical trial found that using SilAtro-5-90 alongside conventional medicine reduced the recurrence of acute tonsillitis5; subsequent economic evaluation found that SilAtro-5-90 also reduced costs (especially when surgery was avoided), compared to treatment with conventional medicine alone.4


A pragmatic randomised clinical trial followed 256 children and adults (aged 6 to 60 yrs) diagnosed with moderate recurrent tonsillitis, over two years. ‘Add-on’ SilAtro-5-90 was found to be clinically effective, reducing the number of acute throat infections, tonsillitis-specific symptoms, and the need for antibiotics when compared to conventional treatment alone.5 A subsequent model-based economic evaluation of incremental costs per acute throat infection showed that:4

  • for children under 12, additional SilAtro-5-90 treatment is always cost-effective (regardless of the severity of recurrent tonsillitis), reducing the number of acute throat infections at a lower cost than using conventional treatment alone
  • for adults and children aged 12 years and older with ‘severe’ recurrent tonsillitis (more than three acute throat infections per year), SilAtro-5-90 helped avoid expensive surgical tonsillectomy.

Further high quality research on this topic is clearly warranted: building on these encouraging findings will determine more definitively whether homeopathy can play a role in managing healthcare costs in future, whilst maintaining levels of clinical effectiveness comparable to existing treatments.

Cost-effectiveness review by Ostermann et al. 2024 synopsis.

Cost-effectiveness review of homeopathic treatment for recurrent tonsillitis by Ostermann et al. 2021 synopsis.


  1. Ostermann T, Burkart J, De Jaegere S, et al. Overview and quality assessment of health economic evaluations for homeopathic therapy: an updated systematic review. Expert Rev Pharmacoecon Outcomes Res, 2024;24:117-142 [PubMed] [FullText]
  2. Viksveen P, Dymitr Z, Simoens S. Economic evaluations of homeopathy: a review. Eur J Health Econ, 2014;15:157-74 [PubMed]
  3. Kass B, Icke K, Witt CM, Reinhold T. Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of treatment with additional enrolment to a homeopathic integrated care contract in Germany. BMC Health Serv Res, 2020;20:872 [PubMed] [FullText]
  4. Ostermann T, Park A-L, De Jaegere S, Fetz K, Klement P, Raak C, McDaid D. Cost-effectiveness analysis for SilAtro-5-90 adjuvant treatment in the management of recurrent tonsilitis, compared with usual care only. Cost Eff Resour Alloc, 2021;19:60 [FullText]
  5. Palm J, Kishchuk VV, Ulied A, Perotti Fernández J, De Jaegere S et al. Effectiveness of an add-on treatment with the homeopathic medication SilAtro-5-90 in recurrent tonsillitis: An international, pragmatic, randomized, controlled clinical trial. Complement Ther Clin Pract, 2017; 28:181-191 [PubMed]

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap