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Homeopathy in Australia is Under Threat from Federal Initiatives
The Swiss people have successfully fought and won through Citizens’ Initiated Referenda (CIR) the right to access their healthcare of choice. This right was acknowledged by the Swiss government subject to a government health technology assessment (HTA) in terms of funding.
Thus, the five year study into the efficacy of Complementary Medicine was conducted by the government. In 2011, the landmark Health Technology Report was published by the Swiss Government. For Homeopathy, the HTA concluded that homeopathy is clinically effective, cost effective and safe.
(scroll down for the 2012 entry)
Yet the same year, Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council NHMRC deep-sixed its quality review of the evidence base for homeopathy and its effectiveness, a review that was favourable to homeopathy. It started over with another inquiry at taxpayer expense with a more politically correct conclusion in view.
The initial review now sleeps with the fishes
The second NHMRC review is now published, March 2015: “NHMRC Information Paper’ : ‘evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for treating health conditions’
NHMRC Statement on Homeopathy and NHMRC Information Paper – Evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for treating health conditions
The National Health and Medical Research Council released a statement March 11 2015 that there is no good quality evidence to support the claim that homeopathy is effective in treating health conditions. This release follows a review of the evidence conducted as part of NHMRC’s responsibility to provide advice and support informed health care decisions by the Australian community.
Now Here is the Pointy End for You: NHMRC
And I begin with an inconvenient fact.
The selection criteria for homeopathy’s ‘evidence base’ accepted by the NHMRC study review (Round II) excluded from its study parameters the longest study into the efficacy of homeopathy ever conducted by a government. This was the Swiss Government Health Technology Report. (for summary see Appendix below)
The stated objective of the NHMRC inquiry and review of studies (Round II) was to make a determination of Homeopathy’s scientific evidence base. In its rejection from the outset of studies like the Swiss Government Health Technology Report: through the manipulation of selection criteria, the NHMRC inquiry and review failed of its objective.
And it failed at the beginning of its inquiry.
That said, I reject the findings of the NHMRC report because the inquiry itself fails to employ impartial, scientific method in its review of studies deemed acceptable to its objective.
Because the NHMRC manipulated the selection criteria for the studies it would consider in its determination, it was able to deliberately exclude studies which have findings favourable to Homeopathy.. Thus, Australia’s premier health and medical research policy making body appears to be a Council with a prior Agenda and Covert Policy. Its review of studies would appear to be an inquisition bogeyed up to look like a scientific inquiry and public consultation process. For example, important subject matter germane to the NHMRC stated objectives would be submissions which provide evidences and critical analysis of the unscientific treatment routinely meted out to Homeopathic studies either seeking or finding publication in the mainstream, established, peer reviewed scientific journals.
This is especially the case with studies validating Homeopathy's claim, studies which receive the NHMRC ‘review of studies’ treatment routinely meted out by the scientific and medical journals themselves.
The unscientific treatment reserved for Homeopathic studies by mainstream journals [ yes. I do refer to those Peer Reviewed, Professional Scientific journals ] is glaring and obvious and not in keeping with the scientific methodological treatment accorded to subject matters (other than Homeopathy) published in those journals.
A systematic review and discussion of this 'special treatment' reserved for Homeopathic subject matter in the relevant journals should fall within the selection criteria of the NHMRC enquiry.
And it does not.
Why would a review and analysis of evidences for or against Homeopathy exclude examination of what is virtually an entire evidence base of bias. This is not hard to find.
It is disguised after the manner of the children’s joke which goes “How do you find the elephant in the strawberry field?”
Answer: “By painting his toenails red, of course.”
In the case of the entire evidence base of bias against Homeopathy in the strawberry fields of those peer reviewed, scientific, professional journals, It is a self-evident matter of public record. No amount of toenail polish will conceal it.
Now why would this fall outside the NHMRC selection criteria?
Why would this entire evidence base of unscientific treatment and bias against Homeopathy and Homeopathic studies in the relevant journals and publications, an evidence base that is easily even cursorily established, be taken prima facie by the NHMRC?
Why does the NHMRC frame its selection criteria for submission in such a way as to collaborate with this bias?
Put on your thinking cap boys and girls. What is the expertocracy up to in the NHMRC?
Why is the [2012 ] Swiss Health Technology Assessment ( a Government Report into the efficacy of Homeopathy) dismissed out of hand and not permitted for consideration by the NHMRC? (It couldn’t have anything to do with the conclusion of the Assessment which found in favour of Homeopathy now could it?)
“Homeopathy in Healthcare – effectiveness, appropriateness, safety and costs” is a Health Technology Assessment (HTA) undertaken by the Swiss government. It is a longitudinal study (over five years) using statistical methods of evaluation, observational studies and longitudinal cohort studies. It is an official report on Homeopathy in healthcare in Switzerland. It is arguably the most comprehensive study into the efficacy of Homeopathy ever undertaken by a government utilizing all the resources in public health data and epidemiology available to a government. Yet it fails to meet NHMC selection criteria to even be considered in a determination of Homeopathy’s scientific evidence base.
The Swiss Report is now available in English (2011) through Springer and is published as Homeopathy in Health Care by Gudrun Bornhoft MD and Prof Peter Matthiessen MD; PhD. http://rd.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-642-20638-2/page/1
Entirely germane to the NHMRC enquiry into the efficacy of homeopathy, a mere Minion might have thought, if one was not well acquainted with the political context of the NHMRC.
The political context of the NHMRC enquiry (also outside the terms of NHMRC selection criteria for consideration ) is equally germane to the NHMRC stated objective.
Trust me on this. They were never going to go there. But given the NHMRC objectives, a review of studies that wanted to be both transparent and accountable would definitely have gone there.
From events of public record, it is self-evident that the politics of health in Australia is steered by drug company interests. Self-evident. The chat shows routinely make jokes about this in the MAINSTREAM media. This is in the PROLE FEED. So it should go without saying (although I am saying and it should be said for the public record) that the preferential treatment received by these interests from government is a glaring and ongoing compromise of Australian health policy.
Since these vested interests are on public record (for over a century) as being opposed to Homeopathy, evidences for and due consideration of their influence on the bias against Homeopathy in the mainstream, professional literature, is entirely relevant to the NHMRC enquiry
The pointy finger should be levelled at the NHMRC enquiry upon this issue alone. The wooden spoon should be firmly brandished.
As with so much government palaver and politics in official councils and committees, there is the cover story and then there is the real story.
Contrary to the NHMRC cover story and stated objective: [ examination and evaluation of the scientific evidence base of homeopathy with a view to determination ] – the real story emerges from the details:
[ a ] the manipulated parameters of the type of 'acceptable' evidence the NHMRC was willing to consider as the 'evidence base' for Homeopathy and
[ b ] the exclusion from the outset of previous government studies and public health epidemiology to which the NHMRC was at pains to censor all reference.
This is beyond woeful.
From the 'fine print' i. e. terms and conditions of the NHMRC enquiry, it is OBVIOUS that this is not a scientific evaluation of Homeopathy's scientific evidence base. Rather it is a political scrutiny of evidences deemed appropriate for official scrutiny under terms that compromise the stated objectives of the enquiry itself. The NHMRC pronouncement is a foregone conclusion. This entity has in view a pre-determined outcome and probably a script from its Handlers as well.
The Homeopathic profession in Australia should not dignify the NHMRC review of studies by attempting to play chase-y chase-y with that elusive 'scientific evidence base' acceptable to the NHMRC. We are up to date with our professional field. We have access to an evidence base that has been going for two centuries.
It is good to see professional associations calling out the NHMRC on their crap.
Australian Homoepathic Association
In this flawed review, not only is the NHMRC standing shoulder to shoulder with mere lobbyists (like Friends of Science) peer reviewed scientific journals that have been 'caught out' attempting to bogey scientific studies to cover for the drug companies.
These are the groups that dispute the evidence base of Homeopathy in sciences like physical chemistry. We are talking the hard sciences here.
This should be relevant to the NHMRC cover story for their enquiry as stated - whether they fall into NHMRC [ real story ] criteria for acceptance or not.
This is the age of the internet. These scams have a way of being found out and presented on YouTube by high school students. If the NHMRC is going to take the Blue Pill, best to identify their substance of choice straight up and hope the mediabots and the FakeNN can at least read their script from the teleprompter.
The NHMRC process had a pre-determined outcome in view. It attempted to enlist science as a mere window dressing and itself refused to be scientific in its considerations by exclusion (from the outset) of much evidence that is germane to its stated objectives.
Among these evidences are publications in peer reviewed scientific journals that establish a scientific evidence base for Homeopathy, an evidence base which the journals themselves then refuse to treat as a validation of the Homeopathic claim according to scientific methodology itself. Long before governments sit in deliberation, this is evidence of Agenda driven 'science', bias and fat-cat influence on the basic norms of scientific inquiry.
The treatment of Homeopathic studies by peer reviewed scientific journals is frequently called into serious question according to real scientific method. Then, there are the self-evidently bogey studies – especially the ones that appear in respected, mainstream journals, published with a view to discrediting the Homeopathy. These are also easily refuted by real scientific methodology. These last, especially, are made to order for enquiries like that of the NHMRC - which selection criteria accepts prima facie..
The Australian colloquial term for this type of thing is - 'a scam'.
If the NHMRC wanted to talk 'scientific' (it doesn't) - what is at issue here is the claim of Homeopathy which can be studied scientifically, a claim that in fact lends itself to scientific investigation.
And here it is:
“Highly dilute solutions (HDS) of a substance X, succussed according to homeopathic scales of graduated dilution / attenuation (eg decimal, centessimal, millessimal, LM scales of potency) are bio-active in HDS past Avogadro's Constant.”
That is the steak and potatoes of the real scientific debate in hard science. (And by the criteria of its enquiry, the NHMRC is clearly not going there). In terms of the scientific debate surrounding Homeopathy's claim – the real science (as opposed to Agenda driven demos, media hype and good old fashioned bunkum) has validated Homeopathy's claim.
And this is precisely the matter which the criteria of the NHMRC enquiry has been designed to exclude. .
According to real scientific criteria for validity, the claim of Homeopathy is a statement that is capable of being falsified by failure of demonstration in hard science - physical chemistry.
And this claim has never been falsified. Rather it has been demonstrated.
Benveniste, J.; “Human Basophil Degranulation Triggered by Very Dilute Antiserum Against IgE" Nature. 1988. Vol 333: 816-818.
Nature, (we probably will need to point this out to the NHMRC ) is the world's foremost journal of the biological sciences. And by its own publication has shown itself to be as biased as any red pill conspiracy theorist blog.
Savour this minions. The above reference is a study in immunology. It demonstrated that the UHD of a goat antiserum in 30C introduced into a human basophil attacked the IgE 'as if' it still contained the original antibody material and stimulated human basophil degranulation. These are observable, measurable and repeatable effects. And the Nature peer review demanded seventy repeat / double blinded demonstrations of this experiment at four universities in France, Canada, Israel and Italy.
The reason for the debate is that the laws of physical chemistry, as currently understood, hold that Professor Benveniste's final dilution and succession of the 30C goat antiserum would have statistically eliminated all molecules of the goat antibody because it was diluted past Avogadro's Constant. Further the UHD had been subjected to ultrafiltration.
According to physical law, as presently understood, the UHD antiserum was just filtered water.
But it did not behave like filtered water. It behaved 'as if' it still contained the original antibody material and stimulated human basophil degranulation. [ observable, measurable demonstration ] The observers measured and recorded the action of the UHD goat antiserum in 30C as a sine wave. [qualtifiable result ] The records show peaks of action in the human basophil.
And. To Be Sure there was another observable and measurable wave of objections to this 'experiment intolerable' both within and without the scientific community. There is always a wave of objection when real science takes us beyond the frontiers of previously held knowledge. People who can't cope with this type of experience should not be engaging in science in the first place. But governments, in the public interest, do have to deal with advances in real knowledge and challenges of this type. They do have to take the Red Pill whether they want to or not.
Now it will be immediately objected by organisations like Friends of Science [ NOT ] that Beneveniste's validation of the Homeopathic claim fails to demonstrate 'the mechanism' of the bio-energetic effects he observed, measured and documented. This raises the question: should homeopathic bio-energetic effects be modeled as a 'mechanism' anyway?
Long before 'the mechanism' of gravity was elucidated by science, people still managed to walk down stairs and write laws that took a stern view of a person who threw person another down the stairs intending that they should die or be injured. The effects of gravitational force have always been observed and regarded in all human endeavors whether the ‘mechanism’ of the force was modelled or not.
Material causation does not determine all that we can observe in the physical world. Deal with it – Friends of Science . More science (not less) and advances in physics will someday explain the fact of the Benveniste demonstrations. The 'why' of this demonstration of Homeopathy's claim will be elucidated by a model that explains and predicts the data we have. Until that time – contra factum non est argumentum, as they once said in the Roman forum.
The same interests that are driving the NHMRC enquiry are undoubtedly the same interests that had leverage over Nature. They took one look at the Benveniste results and promptly curried their panties. Instead of moving into the new frontier, they decided to take the Blue Pill. Wouldn't you know it, the world’s most prestigious research journal in the natural sciences immediately followed publication of the Benveniste experiments with a (cough) Blue Pill 'refutation' (I am being generous here). It was a thousand times worse than the monks of the Inquisition (routinely maligned in the mythology of science) who wouldn't even look through Galileo's telescope because 'if God had intended mere mortals to view celestial objects, then He would have created us with telescopic eyes.”
Nature's 'refutation' of the Benveniste experiment was worse than that. Allow me to repeat. Worse.
Maddox J., Randi, J., Stewart W.W. 1988. Nature. “High Dilution Experiments a Delusion”. Nature. 334.
The editors of Nature promptly set up an 'investigating panel' consisting of a magician, a statistician and a journalist. In vain would the candid mind look for one member of the 'investigating panel' qualified in the relevant sciences: immunology and physical chemistry..
The panel was invited to witness and evaluate a repetition of the experiment conducted by Professor Benveniste at his University of Paris Sud facility. Note, a repetition of the Benveniste experiment that did not REPRODUCE the original. Nor were there any repeat or double blind controls.
As one might expect, Beneveniste's results were ruled invalid. For if the gods had intended us to witness the energetic effects of UHD succussed past Avogadro's Constant in bio-chemistry, then, of course, we would have evolved faculties that could see the 'mechanism' of such effects.
Nature deigned to explain in its 'peer review' that their investigating panel had found the Beneveniste experiment to be invalid because of the “incredible” nature of his results AND the difficulties of reproducibility. Ha Ha. This is science?
Well. Difficult of reproducibility for a magician and his cronies perhaps. Four universities with team members trained in the relevant sciences were able to reproduce the Benveniste results up to 70 times using repeat and double blind controls at the demand of Nature's peer review.
Those whom the gods would destroy, they first drive mad. Nature went on to say that their investigating panel's lack of scientific expertise (No?!) constituted Benveniste's own “methodological shortcomings”. (Nature, the most prestigious journal of the natural sciences in the world actually published that).
To cut to the steak and potatoes. Nature's attitude is that if measurable effects can be produced by UHD succussed past Avogadro's Constant (ie a homeopathic potency) then to what purpose scientific method anyway? To what purpose double blind controls and reproducibility? All of this is passe, as it were. Take the Blue Pill. Let the Amazing Randi decide!
Whereas Benveniste working according to scientific method could not falsify Homeopathy's claim that: UHD (ie past Avogadro's Constant) in succussion is bio-active and produces measurable effects in physical chemistry.
And AS IT STANDS, the validity of the Benveniste results can be questioned if his trials are actually reproduced and different results are obtained. Hey NHMRC, come to think of it, this is actually a science and math kind of thing.
The same validation does not apply to Nature's investigating panel. One must accept their conclusion and Nature's 'refutation' on the say so of the magician and his cronies. This is Nature's Blue Pill version of physical law - as powerful intere$t$ dictate that it should be.
In the 'Benveniste Affair', the scientific ranks closed to the debate of Homeopathy's claim. But this does not invalidate its factual and established basis in physical law and the revlevant sciences, namely biochemistry.
The Establishment now collectively chooses a Blue Pill party line and believes that in the 'Benveniste Affair', the foundations of valid empirical knowledge have been made invalid in the particular case of one odious heretic - J. Benveniste and his 70 repeat / double blind trials of his outrageous demonstration. Invalid how? By the gods, of course. He has been permanently anathematized. A Fatwah has been proclaimed against him. Ha Ha. This is your kind of science Friends of Science and NHMRC.
The NHMRC 'enquiry' should not get away with reinventing Nature's type of 'enquiry' into the validity of Homeopathy's claim. They should not be permitted to deploy selection criteria in favour of this type of 'refutation' prima facie.
They are just spinning a hamster wheel.
And this is your tax dollars at work Australia.
Nature is not the only established scientific journal which has been caught bogeying the science in a vested interest scam. Many established, mainstream, peer-reviewed scientific journals have been caught out publishing against demonstrable evidences and valid empirical knowledge established by scientific method and research.
For years, the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine covered for Merck and cloaked the lethal drug Vioxx in a Blue Pill party line. They shamelessly resorted to tut tutting and 'not that old chestnut' dismissals. Their peer review jigged and rejigged made to order studies. And finally there was nothing for it but outright censorship of the mounting scientific evidence on Vioxx as the proverbial description: “a Vioxx heart attack” passed into common usage and clinical terminology. .
This is where the Blue Pill party line in public health policy gets you – thousands of people dead and millions of dollars in court cases.
But in the end – reality bytes, reality takes a hammer to these types of delusional systems and the Blue Pill addicts are sprung – then compelled (by court order) to pay up.
This is the true political context of the NHMRC enquiry.
In this highly politicized context, please remember that the only Class One recall in the history of the Australian TGA was not for a lethal drug like Vioxx – objectively proven to be responsible for thousands of deaths. MD whistleblower Dr David Graham testified before the US Senate that he estimated as many as 139,000 deaths (in the US alone) resulted from a 'Viox heartattack' while Merck and The once prestigious ‘peer reviewed’ New England Journal of Medicine wailed for their safe space..
In Australia, the TGA allowed Merck to voluntarily disappear Vioxx from the Australian market under a quiet Class 2 recall.. The AMA and the government quickly put a Blue Pill protocol in place for Vioxx patients who were complaining of heart symptoms or who had suffered heart attacks.
Contrast this Blue Pill party line with the TGA's famous Class 1 recall of Travacalm in April 2003. Now this is rich. This should tell the Minions of Oz everything we need to know.
Travacalm was an OTC herbal medicine. Although there had not been a single complaint about Travacalm, in Jan 2003, the Australian company, Pan Pharmaceuticals had voluntarily commenced withdrawing Travacalm because the company's own quality controls led it to suspect a faulty batch. Pan was in full compliance with the voluntary recall process under TGA guidelines, when the TGA hit Pan with a Class 1 and extended it to cover Pan's entire complementary and herbal product range.
The TGA was publicly adamant that death or permanent injury could occur if Pan's entire complementary and herbal product range was not urgently recalled. For all the Wa-Wa in the controlled MSM and the court cases that followed, one would think that the bodies of TravaCalm victims were piling up in the streets. One expected hourly to hear the bell toll and the dread call of ‘bring out your dead’.
But as it turned out, there had not been a single Travacalm notification of adverse reaction. And Pan fully complied with the destruction of the company and the entire shameful business, ostensibly, in the public interest.
It is precisely these scenarios of vested interest, Agenda driven health politics which define the Blue Pill context of the NHMRC enquiry into the evidence base of Homeopathy.
The NHMRC should be called out on all these points. They should be made to publicly feel the bad ch'i of the pointy finger and the smack of the wooden spoon.
Homeopathy is certainly working for them in Switzerland., as the comprehensive HTA report by the Swiss government shows. But this report fell outside the NHMRC selection criteria for submission to the enquiry.
And that really should tell us all we need to know about the NHMRC enquiry.
The Swiss Government's Inquiry into homeopathy and complementary and alternative medicines (CAM)
Now available in English. Homeopathy in Health Care by Gudrun Bornhoft and Peter Matthiessen (Springer, 2011)
The Swiss Governments inquiry into the effectiveness, cost efficiency and use of homeopathy and CAM in Switzlerland is the the most comprehensive study ever undertaken by a government.
Findings of the Swiss Government study show that over 50% of the Swiss physicians consider homeopathy to be effective.
The Inquiry recognizes the high demand and widespread use of homeopathy and CAM therapies in Switzerland. The usage covers both consumer demand and physician acceptance and use.
A National Referendum has shown that more than two thirds of the Swiss voters want homeopathy and selected CAM therapies to be part of the Swiss national health programme.
Dana Ullman, Feb 15, 2012 has reported on the publication of the Swiss Government Inquiry in English. "The Swiss Government's Remarkable Report on Homeopathic Medicine."
Back in Oz, Paul Smith reports in the Australian Doctor that the "NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) takes its time on homeopathy."
"The country's top medical research body says it needs another 18 months to come to a decision whether it is unethical for health professionals to advocate homeopathy."
Last year's NHMRC draft document published in the Australian Doctor last year stated that it was "unethical for health practioners to treat patients using homeopathy, for the reason that homeopathy - as a medicine or procedure - has been shown not to be efficacious."
The draft statement obviously did not take into account the comprehensive review of the Swiss Government Inquiry - to date the most comprehensive conducted by any government into the efficacy of homeopathy.
Let Australian consumers have access to THEIR seafood through the professional fishermen that catch it for them
Now is the time for action!!!!
Please sign the e-petition if you want to save your supply of fresh, local seafood.
Help save our supply of local seafood
Imagine if when you went to your local seafood outlet and all there was to buy was Basa imported from South East Asia or some imported Spanish mackerel or vannamei prawns.
Sound scary? It is very scary but even worse, we are fast heading to a time when this may well be a reality.
Why is this so you ask when Queensland has some of the best sustainably managed fisheries in the world?
Green groups and some recreational fishing groups are running well funded misinformation campaigns that are designed to scare consumers and keep access to many Queensland table species all to themselves.
We need your support to send an alternative message to our politicians - our fisheries are sustainably managed and are not in danger of collapse and any decsisions taken about who has access to the our local seafood must consider you first - the consumer.
Just because you may not be able to go fishing and catch your own seafood should not mean you can't access it at your local seafood outlet.
What some people are trying to do is prevent you from ever having access to local seafood species such as Tailor, Trevally or Australian Salmon.
This is un-Australian and I urge you to send a message to politicians that you want the supply of locally sourced seafood to be their priority - and for all Australians, not just some.
Please sign the e-petition if you would like to support the supply of fresh LOCAL seafood..... Thanks