Objectives

Prescribing of homeopathy still occurs in a small minority of English general practices. We hypothesised that practices that prescribe any homeopathic preparations might differ in their prescribing of other drug.

Main outcome measures

We identified practices that made any homeopathy prescriptions over six months of data. We measured associations with four prescribing and two practice quality indicators using multivariable logistic regression.

Results

Only 8.5% of practices (644) prescribed homeopathy between December 2016 and May 2017. Practices in the worst-scoring quartile for a composite measure of prescribing quality (>51.4 mean percentile) were 2.1 times more likely to prescribe homeopathy than those in the best category (<40.3) (95% confidence interval: 1.6–2.8). Aggregate savings from the subset of these measures where a cost saving could be calculated were also strongly associated (highest vs. lowest quartile multivariable odds ratio: 2.9, confidence interval: 2.1–4.1). Of practices spending the most on medicines identified as ‘low value’ by NHS England, 12.8% prescribed homeopathy, compared to 3.9% for lowest spenders (multivariable odds ratio: 2.6, confidence interval: 1.9–3.6). Of practices in the worst category for aggregated price-per-unit cost savings, 12.7% prescribed homeopathy, compared to 3.5% in the best category (multivariable odds ratio: 2.7, confidence interval: 1.9–3.9). Practice quality outcomes framework scores and patient recommendation rates were not associated with prescribing homeopathy (odds ratio range: 0.9–1.2).