Challenging Inaccurate Influential Literature on Homeopathy
05 February 2020 (online)
In recent years, the science and politics of homeopathy have become closely intertwined, with public access to homeopathic treatment and training, as well as regulatory issues, becoming increasingly determined by how the evidence base is interpreted by decision-makers.
It is therefore of great concern that over the same period, we have seen an ever-increasing divergence between the actual status of the homeopathy evidence base as understood by experts in the field, and how this data is reported by academics from other disciplines and in the mainstream media.
The most striking example of academic misreporting is the Overview Report published by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in 2015. This report, commonly known as ‘The Australian Report’, found ‘no reliable evidence’ that homeopathy is effective.
Despite being scientifically flawed and highly inaccurate, the Australian Report is currently the most influential clinical research publication on homeopathy, having generated damning headlines and been cited by decision-makers worldwide.
In 2017 this trend of misreporting continued with publication of the European Academies’ Scientific Advisory Council’s anti-homeopathy position statement, “Homeopathic products and practices: assessing the evidence and ensuring consistency in regulating medical claims in the EU”.
Despite claiming to have based its conclusions on ‘excellent science-based assessments already published by authoritative and impartial bodies’, the ‘EASAC Statement’ quotes the infamously flawed Shang et al. meta-analysis published in 2005, a non-scientific and widely criticised document produced by a UK Parliament Select Committee in 2010, and the 2015 Australian Report.
In this session we will: review the key scientific flaws in the NHMRC Overview Report and EASAC Statement; look at the impact these publications have had on the homeopathy sector worldwide; and report on the status of strategies employed by the Homeopathy Research Institute, and our international collaborators, to challenge their inaccurate findings.
Keywords: Homeopathy, Australian Report, NHMRC, EASAC