The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has been examining alternative therapy claims.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Strategic Plan 2010-2012 has identified ‘examining alternative therapy claims’ as a major health issue for consideration by the organisation including the provision of research funding.
Council of the NHMRC has been concerned with reports of non-evidence based complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) used in place of evidence-based treatments for patients with serious but treatable conditions.
Complementary and alternative medicine covers a wide range of agents, procedures and devices, some with research evidence of their value arising from different research approaches.
One of the areas they specifically looked at was Homoeopathy. This examination was triggered by a UK report by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in the 2009-2010 session. This report concluded, in part:
The Government should stop allowing the funding of homeopathy on the NHS.
We conclude that placebos should not be routinely prescribed on the NHS. The funding of homeopathic hospitals—hospitals that specialise in the administration of placebos—should not continue, and NHS doctors should not refer patients to homeopaths.
The Australian NHMRC has released a draft report on Homoeopathy.
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.
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.
The governments of Japan, Switzerland and Germany, have also spoken out against homoeopathy. It is long past time that Canadian doctors and Health Canada cooperated in denouncing this ridiculous quackery.