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NHMRC Draft Information Paper: Evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for treating health conditions submission

ID: 
7
Personal Details
First Name: 
David
Last Name: 
Ruebhart
Questions
Q1. Is the draft Information Paper presented and written in a manner that is easy to understand?: 

The NHMRC's assessment of the evidence on homeopathy in the draft Information Paper, Evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for treating health conditions, is written in plain English and is easy to understand.  While I have a BSc (Hons) in Biological Science and a PhD in Environmental Toxicology, I also have a Grad Dip Ed in Secondary Education and teaching experience. In my assessment, no specialised medical or scientific background is necessary to understand this advice provided to the community with the primary finding that, “There is no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective for treating health conditions.” The structure of the Information Paper is comprehensive, providing the reader with the necessary information to understand the background and purpose of the report along with the findings and methods used.

Q2. Does the draft Information Paper clearly outline how the evidence was reviewed and interpreted by the Homeopathy Working Committee?: 

A considerable proportion of the Information Paper is dedicated to informing the reader on how the evidence was reviewed and interpreted under the guidance of the clearly identified Homeopathy Working Committee. It is plainly explained to the reader that equal weight cannot be given to both anecdotal reports and research studies. The required structure of a research study for it to provide reliable evidence is also well explained. There is no ambiguity in the methods used to identify evidence, or its subsequent review and interpretation.

Q3. Is there additional evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for the treatment of clinical conditions in humans that needs to be considered? To be considered in public consultation any additional evidence must:: 

The NHMRC's assessment of the evidence on homeopathy is unequivocal: homeopathy is not an effective treatment, beyond placebo, for any clinical conditions in humans.  Indeed, it is quite evident that homeopathy is no more than a thoroughly debunked pseudoscience. Since its inception over two hundred years ago, there is no reliable evidence to support the effective use of homeopathy. In short, a belief in homeopathy violates the well established principles of modern science and medicine.  The primary finding of this Information Paper that, “There is no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective for treating health conditions,” has several implications including: the removal of the Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance for this ineffective treatment, the cessation of  colleges and universities providing diplomas and degrees in this unfounded area of study, and the provision of codes of practice for registered health professionals and allied employees to prevent them from espousing this non-evidence based treatment. Obviously, any actions applied to homeopathy should apply to any other complementary alternative medicine (CAM) for which there is no evidence for effective treatment. I hope that the findings of this Information Paper lead to actions that protect the community from non-evidence based and ineffective treatments such as homeopathy. I also look forward the NHRMC reviewing the full list of CAMs identified in The Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance for Natural Therapies.

 

Page reviewed: 11 March, 2015