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

This submission reflects the views of
Organisation Name: 
Consumers Health Forum of Australia
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Consumer organisation
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Q1. Is the draft Information Paper presented and written in a manner that is easy to understand?: 

The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) believes that the information paper is presented clearly and logically. However, we recommend that the information paper contain an executive summary before the introduction to highlight NHMRC’s findings (currently listed on Page 10 of the document) and strength of its evidence review. NHMRC’s conclusion about the effectiveness of homeopathy is important and should be highlighted.


On several measures of readability we applied to the information paper, we found that it significantly exceeded the average reading level of the general population. CHF believes that the information paper could become a vital resource for consumers who want to know about the effectiveness of homeopathy, and we are concerned that the paper’s density might limit its broader appeal. We would encourage NHMRC to reassess the body of the report from a plain language perspective and make simple revisions to shorten sentence length, avoid jargon where possible, and limit the amount of redundant or non-critical information.

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

CHF believes that NHMRC has clearly described the process for reviewing the evidence used for its evaluation. However, in the section, “What quality checks were applied to NHMRC’s assessment of the evidence on homeopathy?” we would recommend that NHMRC explain in some detail whether there were any significant amendments or alterations recommended by its independent reviewers and whether they were adopted or rejected. We would also welcome brief descriptions of the reviewers’ expertise and why NHMRC relied on their advice in developing its paper. 

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:: 

CHF was unable to identify any studies meeting the criteria for this consultation that would affect NHMRC’s conclusions. CHF applauds NHMRC for what it considers to be a very thorough literature scoping and for applying high standards in reviewing the studies presented.

Page reviewed: 11 March, 2015