To the Editor of Homœopathic Links
20 December 2017 (online)
I would be grateful if you would bring the predicament of homœopathy in Australia to the attention of your readers, and point them toward a petition generated by the Australian Homœopathic Association (AHA) at: www.yourhealthyourchoice.com.au.
As the AHA's representative for the International Council for Homeopathy (ICH), I wanted to give you an update of the recent activities of the Australian Government in response to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Review into homœopathy, which concluded there is ‘no reliable evidence’ that homœopathy is effective in treating any health conditions.
The AHA, in collaboration with industry partners and the Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI), has conducted a formal investigation into administrative and scientific misconduct associated with the NHMRC Review. This resulted in a formal submission of complaint being lodged with the Commonwealth Ombudsman to review the matter, which is currently under consideration.
Using the NHMRC report, Australia's medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), is moving to declare homœopathic medicines ‘non-therapeutic goods’ and to prevent them from making any therapeutic claims. This could impact the viability of homœopathic manufacturers and thereby threaten homœopathic practitioners' access to medicines.
Public submissions were made to the TGA against the proposal, protesting against the TGA's reliance on the flawed NHMRC Homœopathy Review while ignoring all other evidence.
The Department of Health has also conducted a ‘Pharmacy Remuneration Review’, which has recommended that homœopathic products should be banned from sale in Australian pharmacies. This process also cited the NHMRC Review as the basis for the recommendation. Submissions were made against the proposal, which generated media interest protesting the impact on consumer's right of choice. We have not yet heard anything further on this proposal.
The Government recently announced the removal of support for private health insurance rebates for 17 natural therapies, including homœopathy, on the basis of reports generated by the NHMRC (including the NHMRC Homœopathy Review). This escalated support for the AHA's Your Health Your Choice Campaign from 20,000 to 44,000 signatures in less than 1 week. The campaign aims to collect at least 100,000 signatures to lobby the Australian Senate to conduct an inquiry into the NHMRC's conduct of the Homœopathy Review. In the meantime, the AHA continues to promote media attention and spread the word of the campaign far and wide.
The AHA also continues to reach out for donations and is grateful to the organisations and individuals who have supported the campaign so far. This support has been vital to running the campaign to date.
In the meantime, the AHA is lobbying Senators for support to table the Senate petition, a first required step for setting up an inquiry. AHA is advised that as more signatures to the petition are generated, this will increase political pressure for the campaign to be taken seriously.
We look forward to the participation of your readers in our campaign.