I’ve received a comment on this earlier post, andI think it is worth sharing, front and centre.
It comes from a clearly disgruntled supporter of homeopathy (called Elaine), with the aim of urging some protest to the ‘unfair’ treatment meted out. Rather than have it languish in the comments to an old post, here it is with my comments (well, most of it – I’m certainly not going to put in the bits that encourage people to write in to the authorities).
Lets hear from the AHA about balanced journalism and interview some patients that have received benefits- be it placebo or otherwise. I’m all for skeptical criticism, but against witch hunts. The use of homeopathic caffeine in the TT story was certainly not a reasonable example of how homeopathic ND’s would use or prescribe that product.
The Australian Health Ethics Committee which is part of the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has recently released a draft public statement on homeopathy stating that “it is unethical for health practitioners to treat patients using homeopathy, for the reason that homeopathy (as a medicine or procedure) has been shown not to be efficacious.” This statement was supported by only three references, one of which was the findings of the flawed UK Science & Technology report (1). The other two references being the American Medical Association 2006, report of the Council of ethical & Judicial Affairs (2) & the World Health Organisation 2009 report, safety issues in the preparation of homeopathic medicines (3). It is clearly evident that the NHMRC’s position statement is based on extremely scanty evidence & moreover it seems it has not done its own investigation, very disappointing considering this is Australia’s primary medical research body. Refer Consultation Draft attachment.
It’s so ironic that Elaine complains about the lack of evidence in the determination of the AHE, when the elephant in the room is the total and utter lack of evidence in support of any efficacy for homeopathy. Not only has homeopathy “been shown not to be efficacious“, but, it has also not been shown to be efficacious. Have you done your research? Try this Pubmed link for starters. Results are indistinguishable from placebo, and this is reinforced by systematic reviews of all the clinical evidence.
Chiding the NHMRC for not doing its homework is a bit rich. Systematic reviews of all the clinical evidence show that results are indistinguishable from placebo. Yes, the NHMRC is Australia’s primary research council, but, what is it you want them to research? Are you asking them to use science, to evaluate something that, in homeopathy’s own words, ‘can’t be assessed using standard science’?
The NHMRC did not consult with any homeopathic organisations before the release of its draft public statement. The Australian Homeopathic Association (AHA) (which represents most non-medical professional homeopaths), the Australian Medical Fellowship of Homeopathy (which represents medical doctors) & many independent homeopaths have recently lodged formal complaints with the NHMRC & presented an extensive evidence base to support ethical homeopathic practice.
You keep going on about an ‘extensive evidence base’. So publish it. Go on, I dare you. And I don’t want to hear about how satisfied your patients are. You raised the issue of efficacy as a therapy, and so it onus is on you to demonstrate it. Show me how it’s cured malaria, or HIV or cancer, or anything really, other than dehydration.
While the immediate aim of the NHMRC is to stop homeopathic health fund rebates no doubt its long-term goal is to create negative publicity & misinformation in the public arena which will in turn have a knock-on effect to undermine credibility & public confidence in homeopathy. This draft public statement was discovered accidently in mid May by a homeopathic colleague!! How ironic it is that a health ethics committee could have such unethical communication. The cut off date for submissions to the NHMRC has passed (July 1st 2011)
Now you’ve got the idea. Undermining credibility and public confidence in a scam is exactly the right thing to do. Please don’t bleat about ethics when you know that you’re motivated by self-interest, while the NHMRC is working on behalf of the community. The UK has recently woken up to homeopathy, and has ceased to fund treatments from the public purse. The 2009 British Commons committee found that: “the ultra-dilution notion “scientifically implausible” and that systematic reviews and analyses “conclusively demonstrate that homeopathic products perform no better than placebos.”
Please make an official complaint & encourage anyone interested in pursuing justice, fairness and balanced medicine including homeopathy to do so also by emailing or writing to…
Justice would be to save the community billions of dollars which line the pockets of unscrupulous or deluded homeopaths. And ‘balanced medicine’??? What the hell is that? Medicine is either effective or not – balance is an irrelevant concept.
Medicine provides fairness in the following way: The opportunity exists for homeopathy to demonstrate its efficacy by conducting properly constructed (high quality) trials, followed by appropriate analysis, publication and then replication in subsequent studies. This approach removes the biases of the researchers, to provide a FAIR assessment of the therapy. Anything else is unacceptable.
Homeopathy has had 200 years or so to demonstrate efficacy, and it has yet to do so. I’m betting that it won’t be doing so anytime soon.