Serious Irregularities in Australian Flawed Report Surface

In 2015, the Australian National Health Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) authored a report that designated homeopathy ineffective.

But many serious methodological flaws, procedural irregularities, bias and conflicts of interest have come to light about the whole process. The Australian Homeopathic Association (AHA) has investigated and has taken their report of the serious irregularities to the Council. Because of the nature of the problems that have been uncovered the Council is now having an internal investigation. Probably the most serious being that the head of the NHMRC Homeopathic Working Committee was a member of a pro-pharmaceutical corporate medicine group called FSM.

“AHA, in collaboration with Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA), has been engaged in an active, formal process of making NHMRC accountable for its flawed ‘Review’, which was underpinned by unacceptable bias and conflict of interest.  The CMA/ AHA investigation has revealed a number of critical (previously unknown) procedural and methodological irregularities that invalidate the ‘Review’s’ findings.  Some of these are of a very disturbing nature, for example the undisclosed fact that a Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM) member was appointed as the initial chair of the ‘Homeopathy Working Committee’ in 2012, concomitant to the NHMRC CEO being personally warned of FSM’s lobbying of NHMRC reviewers to its anti-Complimentary Medicine agenda.”

Such factors, amongst many others, bode well for having the ‘Review’ and its findings permanently set aside, which is AHA/ CMA’s goal.

After a lead-up investigation period, in August 2015 CMA provided NHMRC with a dossier outlining critical methodological flaws, procedural irregularities, bias and conflicts of interest associated with the ‘Review’. This successfully brought NHRMC to the negotiating table on September 17, 2015, under threat of further follow up action underpinned by legal support. At the meeting, attended by representatives from the AHA, CMA and their legal representation, NHMRC agreed to undertake a formal internal review of its processes and consider a detailed (61-page) submission prepared by CMA/ AHA detailing these irregularities. NHMRC is currently undertaking this internal review.

AHA appreciates members’ and supporters’ patience in this matter. Now that a formal complaints process has been initiated via NHMRC, AHA is more able to keep everyone informed of progress with this situation as it develops.

To this end National Council has set up a Sponsorship Program to financially support our legal costs in the ongoing process outlined above. Any contribution you can make to this fund will directly support these ongoing activities and will make a real difference. For more information please visit the website.” —http://www.homeopathyoz.org

Advertisements

The Story Behind One of the Highest Quality Studies on Individualized Homeopathic Treatment

Part of the problem with scientific studies using homeopathic remedies is that the best results are when the homeopathic remedy is individualized to the patient. The ideal is when the individual modalities is taken into account of whatever problem is being studied and multiple homeopathic remedies are used. Almost all conventional medical studies do not have this and only some homeopathic studies do.

Professor Jennifer Jacobs MD did such an individualized study with dramatically positive results. The study using homeopathy to deal with acute diarrhea in children was published in the conventional medical journal Paediatrics. The “randomized double-blind clinical trial comparing homeopathic medicine with placebo in the treatment of acute childhood diarrhea was conducted in León, Nicaragua, in July 1991. Eighty-one children aged 6 months to 5 years of age were included in the study. An individualized homeopathic medicine was prescribed for each child and daily follow-up was performed for 5 days. Standard treatment with oral rehydration treatment was also given.”

The positive results were that “the treatment group [who had taken homeopathic remedies] had a statistically significant decrease in duration of diarrhea, defined as the number of days until there were less than three unformed stools daily for 2 consecutive days. There was also a significant difference (P < .05) in the number of stools per day between the two groups after 72 hours of treatment.” – Pubmed

Dr. Jacobs talks about the story behind it and also the backlash including the unprofessional behaviour of critics:

 

What does Coca Cola, the Pharmaceutical Industry and the Anti-homeopathy Group ‘Sense About Science’ Have In Common?

The Alliance for Natural Health International reports that the anti homeopathy group Sense about Science has been “busted by The Times of London” for once again secretly supporting corporate giants.  This skeptic group has been for years taking contributions from Pharmaceutical Companies.  In turn, they have authored actions and reports that seem independent and equal minded but are an attempt by the pharmaceutical industry to destroy homeopathy and the right of consumers to choose alternative health  modalities.

The alliance for natural health reports that “On the 9th & 10th October 2015 respectively, The Times published two consecutive, highly revealing articles by its special correspondent, Alexi Mostrous. In the Saturday piece, Alexi Mostrous exposed Sense About Science’s association with Coca-Cola. Sense About Science is the charity with which anti-alternative medicine skeptics like Simon Singh and Ben Goldacre are associated, that claims to be independent yet often acts as a voice for Big Food, Pharma and Biotech.”

According to the article, Sense about Science used its so called “scientific voice” to debunk a study that showed the dangers of drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.  The research evidence that triggered this situation was entitled “Estimated Global, Regional, and National Disease Burdens Related to Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption in 2010”. The background of the research was described as follows:

     “Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are consumed globally and contribute to adiposity. However, the worldwide impact of SSBs on burdens of adiposity-related cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancers, and diabetes mellitus has not been assessed by nation, age, and sex…”

As mentioned, Sense about Science has been complicit in inciting and spreading negative and false opinions about homeopathy and alternative health modalities. It was revealed that it is funded by the pharmaceutical industry and other corporations needing a seemingly “independent” scientific voice.

Research Expert Claims Australian Pharmaceutical Trained Researchers Misrepresented Clinical Evidence in Homeopathy

Australia’s research council has hired pharmaceutical trained “experts” to conclude that homeopathic remedies do not act like pharmaceutical drugs and are therefore “ineffective.”

Dr Robert Mathie, the Research Development Advisor for The British Homeopathy Association also had expressed reservation about the nature of the research being conducted by the NHMRC. “Given that a review of reviews is two stages removed from the original clinical trial evidence, it has the potential to misrepresent the totality of the relevant research”.

During 25 years in the university sector, Dr Mathie published over 100 peer-reviewed papers. Since 2010, he has focused on reviewing and clarifying the research literature on homeopathy by means of a major programme of systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials in human and veterinary homeopathy for The British Homeopathic Association (BHA). He is very positive about the results of research into homeopathy.

Also positive was the Swiss government’s exhaustive research into homeopathy- “After carefully monitoring homeopathic treatment in Switzerland and also taking an extensive overview of all scientific studies of homeopathy it concludes that “taking internal and external validity criteria into account, effectiveness of homeopathy can be supported by clinical evidence and professional and adequate application be regarded as safe”(PubMed).  They concluded that homeopathic treatment should continued to be reimbursed by Switzerland’s national health insurance program.”

The Swiss government researchers had no affiliation with pharmaceutical companies.

Society of Homeopaths in United Kingdom Accredited by Professional Standards Authority

The United Kingdom’s largest registering association of professional homeopaths called the Society of Homeopaths, was founded in 1978 “to forward the development of the profession, its aim is high quality homeopathic health care for all”.  Now, the Society of Homeopaths’ voluntary register has been accredited under a new scheme set up by the Department of Health and administered by an independent body, the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, which is accountable to the United Kingdom’s Parliament. Patients and the public can have confidence in the Society of Homeopaths’ voluntary register which has been vetted and approved by the Professional Standards Authority.

Practitioners on the Society of Homeopaths’ register will be able to display the Accredited Voluntary Register (AVR) quality mark, a sign that they belong to a register which meets the Professional Standards Authority’s robust standards.

The Society of Homeopath’s web site now states “The designation RSHom is your guarantee of a well-trained, registered and insured healthcare professional. In September 2014, the Society’s register was accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.”

Homeopathy Empowers Patients: Making Cases Count Initiative Winners Announced

Patients of homeopaths experience great results. And a new initiative allows patients of homeopaths to confidentially report these positive results using a standardized form called MYMOP ((Measure Your Medical Outcome Profile). This is all part of Making Cases Count initiative.

The Making Cases Count initiative is run by a team of researchers led by Clare Renton.

Two graduates from The School of Homeopathy, UK, were recently awarded a prize from the Making Cases Count group for sending in results,

“The  first MCC Awards competition was judged by our team of experts chaired by Honorary Professor of Health Services Research, Professor Kate Thomas (University of Sheffield), Dr Clare Relton (University of Sheffield), Kate Chatfield (University of Central Lancashire) and Miranda Castro (Homeopath USA).”

Official Professional Homeopath Status Enacted by Canadian Provincial Parliament

Ontario, which is the largest province of Canada with a population of 13.6 million people, has now officially “proclaimed” homeopathy as a health profession. It gives professional homeopaths equal footing with other health disciplines. Professional homeopaths will have some restrictions in what they can do but will be able to practice as a respected health discipline. All health professions have a professional “College” as it is called, such as the College of Homeopaths or the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

TC-CHO logo fade only

Here is the News Release from the College of Homeopaths in Ontario:

College of Homeopaths of Ontario established to ensure safe and competent practice, recognize diversity in patient choice

March 31, 2015 9:45 p.m., Toronto ON
April 1, 2015 marks the proclamation date of the Homeopathy Act, 2007, which sets out the terms for establishing homeopathy as one of 28 self-regulated health professions in Ontario. This date also ushers in a new era of protection for homeopathy patients.
“We have a rich and diverse population in Ontario,” says Bhupinder Sharma, the College’s President. “Many patients choose homeopathy because it works for them.” Sharma added that “Ontario’s health-care system includes many options, and we are pleased to see patient choice and public safety coming together.”

Regulation will ensure that homeopaths practise to a standard that is defined and maintained. In order to register, applicants must have proven their competence through an assessment of their knowledge, skill and judgement. Registrants will take part in ongoing quality assurance initiatives, focusing on education and standards of practice.

“We are pleased to post the Public Register of qualified and competent homeopaths,” says College Registrar Basil Ziv.
“Getting to this point has taken many years and a lot of hard work. Proclamation allows the College to use the full powers of the Homeopathy Act, 2007.”
As of April 1, only those who are registered with the College can use the title “Homeopath.” What sets registered homeopaths apart is that, under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, they are accountable to the College of Homeopaths of Ontario to provide safe, competent and ethical practice. An exhaustive set of professional practice standards and guidelines has been developed to form the backdrop against which practice will be maintained. The public register of homeopaths will be available to allow patients and others to determine the registration status of a practitioner.
Additionally, a discipline process will be in place to ensure that complaints can be dealt with fairly and effectively.
The College of Homeopaths of Ontario is governed by the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 and the Homeopathy, Act, 2007. These acts ensure consistent implementation of public protection mechanisms and allow patients, employers and other health care professions to make complaints against practitioners who fall below the health care standards set by the

College and the Government of Ontario.
For more information on the Public Register, complaints process, registration requirements, professional practice standards,and ongoing regulatory programs, please see the College’s website: http://www.collegeofhomeopaths.on.ca .

Kathryn Harvey
Communications Officer
College of Homeopaths of Ontario
www.collegeofhomeopaths.on.ca

Background: College of Homeopaths of Ontario
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a system of medicine used around the world and based on the principle of “let likes
be cured by likes.” Patients who exhibit symptoms of disease are treated with administration of
minute doses of substances to stimulate the individual’s natural healing process in order to restore
and maintain health.
Homeopaths are trained health-care practitioners who observe and assess the totality of signs and symptoms that the patient exhibits. This totality refers to taking all the symptoms a patient exhibits on a physical, mental, emotional and general level, and prescribing a remedy that best matches this symptom profile. Treatment involves choosing the appropriate remedy, which is administered in minute doses with the aim of stimulating the individual’s healing response.

What is the homeopathic scope of practice?
Under the Homeopathy Act, 2007, the scope of practice is defined as “the assessment of body system disorders and
treatment using homeopathic techniques to promote, maintain or restore health.” The College of Homeopaths of Ontario has created a series of professional practice standards and guidelines to define the safe and effective practice and scope of practice for homeopathy.

Where do homeopaths work?
Homeopaths work in a variety of settings including private practice, multi-practitioner health-care centres, pharmacies, and other health-care settings.

Do patients need a referral from a family doctor?
Homeopathy may be used independently to treat acute or chronic illness or disorders or as an adjunct to other forms of health care. In many cases homeopaths are part of the patient’s multi-disciplinary health care team. A referral is not required to see a homeopath.

What should a patient expect upon visiting a homeopath?
At the first consultation the homeopath will spend at least one to two hours, sometimes longer, asking detailed questions about one’s health, medical history, and lifestyle. The homeopath is seeking to understand how the patient experiences symptoms and how they affect daily life, so that s/he can assess and prescribe the most appropriate remedy to match the totality of symptoms. The homeopath will obtain informed consent prior to completing their visit with the patient and prior to providing remedy options.
Subsequent consultations are often shorter in duration and will involve discussing the changes that have occurred, so that the homeopath can understand how the patient has responded to the remedy and what the next treatment step will be.

Will patients have to pay for treatment?
Homeopathic care may be covered by individual health-care benefits plans. Patients should check with their employers or insurance providers for more details.

How can a patient find a homeopath?
As of April 1, 2015, homeopathy is a regulated health profession in Ontario. Regulation will ensure all homeopaths meet the education and clinical experience criteria set out by the College of Homeopaths of Ontario. Homeopaths will also be required to undergo assessment to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and judgment in the practice of the profession. The competency-based assessment is conducted by a third-party assessment expert. Once the homeopath has completed their assessment and satisfied the other necessary registration requirements, they may be considered for registration with the

College of Homeopaths of Ontario.
Once registered, the Homeopath’s name will appear on the Public Register of the College. The Public Register provides the public with information about the practitioner including business name and address, years in practice, status of College regulation, and information about any formal disciplinary or fitness to practice issues.

Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991
The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA), which came into force on December 31, 1993, and was amended in June 2007, provides a common legislative framework under which all regulated health professions in Ontario must function. Currently 28 health professions (27 fully regulated, 1 transitional) are regulated under the RHPA.
The underlying objectives of the RHPA are:
• To protect the public from harm and from unqualified, incompetent or unfit providers;
• To promote safe, high quality care;
• To make regulated health professions accountable to the public;
• To provide patients/clients access to health-care professionals of their choice;
• To achieve equality and consistency by requiring all regulated health professions adhere to the same purposes,
procedures and public interest principles;
• To treat individual patients/clients and health professionals in an equitable manner.

Homeopathy Act, 2007
Every regulated health profession in Ontario has, in addition to the RHPA, a profession-specific Act which establishes a regulatory college responsible for governing the profession to ensure the public is protected. The Homeopathy Act, 2007 establishes the College of Homeopaths of Ontario.

The Homeopathy Act, 2007 sets out:
• The scope of practice of homeopathy is defined as “…the assessment of body system disorders and treatment
using homeopathic techniques to promote, maintain or restore health”;
• Title protection, authorizing only members of the College of Homeopaths of Ontario the use of the title “homeopath,” a variation or abbreviation or an equivalent in another language;
• The composition of the College Council.

How does the College protect the public?
In Ontario, the law sets out the responsibilities, powers and procedures for the College of Homeopaths of Ontario to regulate the profession of homeopathy in the interest of public protection. The College works for the public to ensure that homeopaths are qualified to offer safe, competent and ethical care.

Accountability
While anyone can legally provide homeopathy education and advice, what sets registered homeopaths apart is that, under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, they are accountable to the College of Homeopaths of Ontario to provide safe, competent and ethical practice. Each homeopath must participate in quality assurance and practice assessment programs to ensure continuing competency. Under certain circumstances, homeopaths and employers have an obligation to report registrants who are not practising ethically, safely and competently.

Complaints Resolution Process
The College also has a complaints resolution process in place for anyone who has a concern or complaint about the
services they have received from a homeopath. The College has the responsibility and power to investigate and take action in all complaints.

Homeopath: A Protected Health Profession Title
In Ontario, only members of the College of Homeopaths of Ontario are regulated and authorized to use the title
“Homeopath” or “HOM.” Individuals who are not members of the College are prohibited from using this professional designation or from holding themselves out as qualified to practise as a homeopath. You can verify that your homeopath is a qualified and registered member by consulting the Public Register.