Homeopaths are facing a fight to defend their practice in Australia after the National Health and Medical Research Council flagged it might declare their work baseless and unethical.That report, which noted that homeopathy's principles were ''theoretically weak'' and ''scientifically implausible'', was highlighted here. If the statement emerges intact from the NHMRC it will displease the "homeopathy community" and health insurance providers that have been promoting their products on the basis that alternative/complementary medicine is part of a package.
A draft public statement seen by The Age concluded it was ''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''.
The confidential statement, which was not meant to be distributed, is based on a 2010 evaluation of homeopathy by the British House of Commons science and technology committee, which declared it was no more efficacious than a placebo.
The absence of diagnostic and therapeutic validity, apart from the feelgood factor, for practices such as magic touch, remote healing and homeopathy should mean that such 'medicine' should be regarded - and funded - as an entertainment or an expression of faith rather than as something with an empirical basis.
The Age subsequently published a facsimile of the draft statement, which indicates that -
NHMRC’s position is 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. ...It goes on to note that -
There is sufficient scientific evidence to conclude that homeopathy is no more efficacious than placebo. Homeopathy, while not harmful in its own right, may pose a risk to patients if safe and efficacious conventional treatments are rejected or delayed in favour of homeopathic treatment.
The Australian Government does not fund homeopathy as a treatment directly.
In Australia, complementary medicines such as herbal products, vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements, some aromatherapy products and certain homeopathic products are regulated as complementary medicines under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Therapeutic Goods Act) by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Homeopathic preparations are considered to pose a low direct risk. Those that contain ingredients more dilute than 1:10,000 parts and do not contain substances of animal or human origin are currently exempt from the requirement to be included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). ...
The findings of the [UK] Homeopathy Report are the basis of the NHMRC‟s public statement on homeopathy.
NHMRC's position is 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.