Homeopathy not effective for treating any condition, Australian report

Homeopathy pills Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council hopes report will discourage private health insurers from offering rebates on homeopathic treatments.

Homeopathy pills Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council hopes report will discourage private health insurers from offering rebates on homeopathic treatments.

Homeopathy not effective for treating any condition, Australian report finds

Report by top medical research body says ‘people who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments’

Source: The Guardian

By Melissa Davey

Wednesday 11 March 2015 05.25 GMT Last modified on Wednesday 11 March 2015 17.35 GMT

Homeopathy is not effective for treating any health condition, Australia’s top body for medical research has concluded, after undertaking an extensive review of existing studies.

Homeopaths believe that illness-causing substances can, in minute doses, treat people who are unwell.

By diluting these substances in water or alcohol, homeopaths claim the resulting mixture retains a “memory” of the original substance that triggers a healing response in the body.

These claims have been widely disproven by multiple studies, but the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has for the first time thoroughly reviewed 225 research papers on homeopathy to come up with its position statement, released on Wednesday.

“Based on the assessment of the evidence of effectiveness of homeopathy, NHMRC concludes that there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective,” the report concluded.

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“People who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness.”

An independent company also reviewed the studies and appraised the evidence to prevent bias.

Chair of the NHMRC Homeopathy Working Committee, Professor Paul Glasziou, said he hoped the findings would lead private health insurers to stop offering rebates on homeopathic treatments, and force pharmacists to reconsider stocking them.

“There will be a tail of people who won’t respond to this report, and who will say it’s all a conspiracy of the establishment,” Glasziou said.
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“But we hope there will be a lot of reasonable people out there who will reconsider selling, using or subsiding these substances.”

While some studies reported homeopathy was effective, the quality of those studies was poor and suffered serious flaws in their design, and did not have enough participants to support the idea that homeopathy worked any better than a sugar pill, the report found.

In making its findings the NHMRC also analysed 57 systematic reviews, a high-quality type of study that assesses all existing, quality research on a particular topic and synthesises it to make a number of strong, overall findings.

Glasziou said homeopathy use declined in the UK following a House of Commons report released in 2010 which found the treatments were ineffective, and that he hoped the NHMRC report would have a similar effect in Australia.

Dr Ken Harvey, a medicinal drug policy expert and health consumer advocate, said private colleges were charging thousands of dollars for courses in homeopathy, and he hoped students would reconsider taking them.

The government’s Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) should stop accrediting homeopathic courses, he said, while the private health insurance rebate should be not be offered on any policies covering homeopathy and other unproven treatments.

“I have no problems with private colleges wanting to run courses on crystal-ball gazing, iridology and homeopathy, and if people are crazy enough to pay for it, it’s their decision,” Harvey said.

“But if those courses are approved by a commonwealth body, that’s a different story and a real problem.”

Approved courses are reviewed by TESQA every seven years, with its own guidelines stating the content of a course should be “drawn from a substantial, coherent and current body of knowledge and scholarship in one or more academic disciplines and includes the study of relevant theoretical frameworks and research findings”.

A TESQA spokesperson said independent experts were used to assess whether or not a course complied with its standards. He said homeopathy courses already accredited would not be re-evaluated in light of the NHMRC’s findings, and would only be reviewed when their accreditation was next due for renewal.

In a statement responding to the NHMRC report, the Australian Homeopathic Association (AHA) claimed around a million Australians used homeopathy.

However, the NHMRC states there are no reliable estimates of Australians’ current use of homeopathic medicines, though a 2009 World Health Organisation review found Australians spent an estimated $9.59m on the industry annually.

“The Australian Homeopathic Association recommend to the NHMRC that it take a more comprehensive approach to the analysis of homeopathy’s efficacy, and consider a large-scale economic evaluation of the benefits of a more integrated system and one which respects and advocates patient choice in healthcare provision,” the AHA said.

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8 replies

  1. HOMOEOPATHY had been proved effective in the past. This verdict from Australians seems to be similar to the atheists beliefs because allopaths cannot determine anything in H/pathic medicines.
    I remember a case: A lady, wife of an officer friend of mine had much trouble in her teeth, swelling, pain and distress from evening to morning.
    She was under treatment of a dentist who had planned to remove all her teeth. But he could not do it due to swelling. Dentist was giving her penicillin injections daily for about 10 days.
    One evening when family went for injection, the clinic was closed. They were living quite out of city area.
    They decided to visit us. The lady cried and explained her problem and said to me, “Brother, I heard you had some teeth trouble. What medicine did you take?”
    I said I have homeopathic medicines (Which I had BOUGHT IN FRANCE).
    I studied her case while my wife was preparing tea/ pikoras (eateries). I told the lady not to take any tea or small eats (fried ).
    I gave her a medicine and four more small packets to take home.
    Next day, in evening, I rang up my friend to find out about the patient who always went to bed in distress as if a lion was coming to hurt her (That is how they had described her condition.) Her face used to be much swollen in morning.
    My friend told me, “Oh, your Bhabi is jumping all over the place, happily and seems to have no trouble.”
    No teeth had to be removed at all and she remained well for years. I assessed her case later to be such and such:
    Being a lady, having four children, ladies are usually given iron tablets. If iron suits some one it does wonders. If it does not suit then it shows its bad effect on the body. I just gave some antidote to cancel the bad effects of iron.
    But all that was a later thought. At the time of prescribing, I did not go on that line. There was just one small clue which led me to the medicine. I was not sure if it was the right medicine.
    When she was cured, I realized that it must have been the case spoiled by iron.
    I would ask the Australian members: What cured that lady?
    (Continued)

  2. Homeopathy is a belief system not a method of treating medical illnesses. Humans have great capacity to believe in things which are absolutely false. The most common and glaring examples of this phenomenon are found in religions. Jesus rose up from the dead! He is sitting on the right hand of God! The Holy Prophet flew to seventh heaven on the night of ma’iraj and came back within moments and many more. The believers call them miracles. The common theme among all these and many other beliefs is that it is almost impossible to shake them. Even if you prove beyond doubt that Jesus is dead, the vast majority of Christians will not accept it.
    This is why people still believe in snake oil and coming from Pakistan we see the illiterate and complete ignorants selling remedies for cancer and other ailments to other illiterates and ignorants.
    Science is a method of finding the truth. In science results are observable and reproducible. Once science finds the truth it stands. No amount of ignorance and disbelief can change it. Climate change is a fact. Evolution is a fact. But mix it with religion and you will find vehement deniers. Similarly mix medicine with religion and you have what Mr. Ghulam Sarwar is describing.
    There will always be people who will believe in such stuff and will be the victims of conmen. The real question is the moral standing of those who push these remedies without having any knowledge.

  3. Even before the scientific revolution all societies had their systems of healing and medicines.

    If I were to summarize the Western medicine into one simple principle, which gave it supremacy over all other systems, it will be, “One mouse is no mouse.” This implies that if you are doing a study and there is only one mouse in the study you did not prove anything.

    In other words, a treatment which has worked only one time is not an established treatment, until its benefit can be shown in groups under strict statistical scrutiny.

    This one principle and derivatives has led to all the progress in the Western medicine, which almost all of us seek on most occasions and a pharmaceutical industry worth trillions of dollars has been established in all corners of the earth.

  4. Who claim that homoepaty not effective for any patient, so such kind people can also treat by homoepaty we can give one dose glonine in high potenthy from taking this dose a person feel huge headace he can’t bear untill that he take not other homoe medicine.

  5. Personally for me homoeopathy works like magic. We live in a free world, those who don’t want to believe in it, are welcome to not use it, but should not make a claim that it does not work for me.

    Once a homeopathy doctor had told me, while giving me a 6x potency of a homeopathy remedy, that effectiveness of homeopathy is directly related to a person’s spiritual state, and in her experience, patients of the West needed significantly higher potencies to work as compared to the patients of the East. This was a new knowledge for me. Now it’s been over two decades since then and I have always observed that her saying was correct. No wonder the claims against homeopathy come from people on whom homeopathy really doesn’t work. Instead of blaming homeopathy, they should worry about their spiritual condition.

    Also, I feel bad for those who are missing such a wonderful system of treatment or are kept ignorant of it via these biased studies

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