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ACCC takes legal action over homeopathy claims

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted Federal Court proceedings against a repeat offender over…

The ACCC is taking legal action over claims homeopathic remedies are a safe and effective alternative for the prevention and treatment of whooping cough. Shutterstock/Minerva Studio

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted Federal Court proceedings against a repeat offender over allegedly misleading claims on a homeopathy website.

The regulator is targeting the Homeopathy Plus website for claiming that the whooping cough vaccine is “unreliable” and “largely ineffective” in preventing whooping cough and that homeopathic remedies are a safe and effective alternative. It is also taking action against homeopath Frances Sheffield.

The action comes months after the ACCC said Homeopathy Plus had removed misleading and deceptive claims about whooping cough prevention and treatment from its website.

It follows non-compliance with retraction orders by both the Therapeutic Goods Administration Advertising Complaint Resolution Panel (CRP), the body responsible for policing the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code, and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) who administer the Therapeutic Goods Act.

“The whole exercise shows the impotence of the current complaint system handled by the CRP and TGA,” said Ken Harvey, adjunct associate professor of public health at La Trobe University.

The ACCC is seeking an injunction to have the misleading claims removed from the Homeopathy Plus website, as well as penalties against the company and individuals, however professor Harvey said he would like to see a retraction of the claims published (as sought by the CRP and TGA), to inform the public.

“When craziness like this comes up a retraction is crucial,” Professor Harvey said.

He added that the TGA should have similar powers of enforcing determinations that the ACCC has, such as civil penalties and enforceable undertakings.

Professor Harvey said it was not satisfactory to rely on the ACCC to pursue health safety cases.

“There are many things they haven’t taken up on the grounds they have more important things to do,” he said.

The fact that the ACCC has intervened in this case raises real questions about why we have the TGA, said Bruce Arnold, lecturer in law at the University of Canberra.

“The government has acknowledged there are major problems with the way the organisation is operating, but we’re not seeing much action there in terms of cultural change, which is arguably what we need.”

The information provided on the Homeopathy Plus website is covered by Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and the Therapeutic Goods Act, Mr Arnold said.

“The ACL is looked after by the ACCC. It has both the power and the culture of going after deceptive claims that are made in the course of trade.

“The TGA arguably doesn’t have that culture and has certainly given a lower priority to dealing with what some people refer to as alternative medicine,” Mr Arnold said.

Mr Arnold said the ACCC action was arguably overdue, however the regulator had the power to order a correction, which could help prevent further harm.

Homeopath Frances Sheffield said the action would be defended.

“As far as we’re concerned the information is quite accurate,” she said.

Ms Sheffield said after the ACCC ordered the removal of the ‘Whooping Cough – Homeopathic Prevention and Treatment’ page from the Homeopathy Plus website last year, the information was moved to a members only area of the site.

“It’s currently sitting in the member area and was slightly revised,” Ms Sheffield said.

Professor Harvey has consistently argued it is both irresponsible and dangerous to promote homeopathic remedies for the prevention of potentially serious infectious diseases.

The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing recommends children receive the whooping cough vaccine as part of routine childhood immunisation.

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  1. Sal Kennedy

    logged in via Facebook

    homoeopathy = troll science.

    up next, magnets.

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    1. Mike Jubow

      forestry nurseryman

      In reply to Sal Kennedy

      Didn't the Skeptics Society offer a million dollars to find any effective homeopathic medicine that could withstand a double blind trial some ten years ago? As I recall, the placebo was actually more effective than the homeopathic "medicine". I also recall some articles in New Scientist that have thoroughly debunked magnets after similar trials.

      The weak minded and ignorant in our society are still being conned by these charlatans and the law should come down on them like a ton of bricks dropped from a great height. I fail to understand why these people are allowed to pedal their useless "cures" along with the anti-vaccination freaks. Why are we allowing "cures" that come out of attitudes straight from the Dark Ages?

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    2. James Jenkin

      EFL Teacher Trainer

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      I agree Mike - but it might be interesting to look at who the 'weak minded and ignorant' victims are.

      Most fans of alternative medicine I've come across are university-educated, and understand the arguments for and against.

      The more warnings they get, the more they believe.

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    3. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to James Jenkin

      James, education doesn't necessarily vaccinate against magical thinking. Just look at the large numbers of people who believe in a deity of some form. I think the trick is teaching people to think critically.

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    4. James Jenkin

      EFL Teacher Trainer

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Very true Blair.

      I'm just curious - could it be that believers in magical thinking tend to be more 'educated'?

      If we use a completely unsound sample - people I know - the tradies are much more likely to think alternative medicine is rubbish.

      Just a hunch, but maybe university graduates get caught up in minutiae - angels on the head of a pin, if you like - rather than questioning the premise of their belief.

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    5. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to James Jenkin

      I think education is important but I know of a number of well educated people as well as a few tradesmen who have plenty of smarts and are practical people, equally I know people in both categories who believe all sorts of nonsense.

      Maybe one of the biggest problems is the idea that there has to be "balance" in all things or the other popular new-age mindset that "reality" is in the eye of the beholder? I see a lot of fuzzy thinking on forums dealing with belief, climate change, creationism and CAM.

      It's certainly a worry that some of our fine educational institutions are flogging dubious medical courses. Medical practices that aren't evidence-based should be called religion.

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    6. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to James Jenkin

      There is a saying that smart peopleare good at justifying things they believe for stuoid reasons. It is also worth noting that education is not transferrable. I look at my tax return and am very thankful that my accountant can make sense of because my PhD in biology doesn't help me much. I would be interested to know the percentage of member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association who have medical degrees or PhD's in the biological sciences from accredited universities

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    7. Tim Traynor

      Rocket Surgeon

      In reply to James Jenkin

      An interesting notion.

      Perhaps as more and more people are "educated" (that is, doing degrees that are not much more than time fillers), they develop the (false) belief that they are able to understand and critically analyse scientific / medical information?

      The ultimate point of the unintended consequence of more education is homeopathy?

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    8. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      It seems to depend on the AREA of education - the concept of "evidence" differs between disciplines.

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    9. Tim Traynor

      Rocket Surgeon

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      People from a non scientific background need to understand this point Sue. Or just keep forking out their hard earned $$$ on 1 part per trillion unicorn horn solutions.

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    1. Ilijas Milišić

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tim Traynor

      Just about every word Ms Werner utters in that cringingly awful video is wrong. Including "and" and "the."

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  2. Blair Donaldson

    logged in via Twitter

    This article proves that we need many more Prof Harvey's in this country along with some serious legislation to ensure the ACCC and the TGA actively seek out dodgy companies and individuals who promote misleading health advice. These authorities should also have the power to penalise heavily.

    The people behind Homoeopathy Plus are recidivists when it comes to flogging blatantly false health advice and seem to think they are above the law. If their fallacious, antiscience health claims can be linked with the preventable death of even one person, then they should be held accountable and penalised accordingly.

    When the lives of small children are deliberately put at risk by false information from conniving, deceptive individuals such as Fran Sheffield, we should acknowledge the stupidity has gone too far.

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    1. Mike Jubow

      forestry nurseryman

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Can any of our learned fraternity tell me why chemist shops are selling homeopathic "medicines"? It would seem to me that it is completely unethical for those who undergo university level training in the sciences, would contemplate selling fraudulent merchandise.

      I once questioned a chemist on his ethics in selling this stuff and ended up having a stand up row in a crowded shop. I left to find a chemist with a bit more dedication to medical science.

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    2. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      @Mike, I suspect the answer to your question is a mix of greed and a low regard for their own (the chemist's) reputation in the community.

      We should be taking a leaf out of the 10:20 campaign kicked off by the Merseyside skeptics who run an annual homoeopathy overdose day. (Check out their website)

      Perhaps many chemists hold their clientele in low regard and think they can get away with flogging rubbish to the sheeple?

      The lack of basic science understanding in the wider community is frightening. You only need to look at the number and frequency of "mind body spirit" festivals around the country to see how much woo is peddled and mostly accepted by a gullible community.

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  3. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. Ilijas Milišić

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to drchristo aa

      Talk about gish-galloping.

      Every time I've seen this sort of "evidence-bombing" by homeopaths and their supporters in the past, however, the so-called "evidence" has been of abysmally low quality.

      So, my expectations upon seeing all these references are very low.

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  4. drchristo aa

    doctor

    MORE PROOF THAT HOMEOPATHY WORKS......
    Watch these few live case video,,,homeopathy cures even the incurable diseases named by old school of medicine(allopathy)

    Really homeopathy cures the incurables and everything which is diseased in human being
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URCfMyfmgzA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXThKn3iwqU&feature=relmfu
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbyiL88ZJms&feature=relmfu
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB4C7C3YVVg&feature=relmfu
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwWmDQiQAb4&feature=relmfu

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    1. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to drchristo aa

      For those of you who have not come across homeopaths defending their beliefs before the above posts by drchristo aa are pretty typical. Dump a large number of studies and then leave it for others to try and sort them out. The general request is a randomized, double blinded placebo controlled clinical trial that shows that a specific homeopathic treatment works better than a placebo. I await with unbaited breath for "dr" christo aa's response

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  5. Sue Ieraci

    Public hospital clinician

    Ms SHeffield clearly shows disdain and disregard for the regulators' orders.

    She apparently said "“It’s currently sitting in the member area and was slightly revised,”

    A quick visit to the website, at the portal to the "members only area" shows comments such as these:

    "Some people think you shouldn’t know about homeopathy – especially in relation to this particular problem.

    They have lodged complaints with various government departments against Homeopathy Plus! and this website to stop the information entering the public domain.

    We think this behaviour is silly, short-sighted and against the public interest.

    It also makes it difficult for you to research potentially valuable information on homeopathy.

    So, to reduce the complaints and protect your access to information we have moved this “shocking” content to a free member’s area where you can still read it and form your own opinion."

    What astounding hubris and lack of insight to post that publicly.

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  6. Joel Mayes

    Bicycle Mechanic

    About time too. There is no point in having regulation of any industry if the regulator does not have the funding and the will to pursue and enforce penalties

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  7. Sue Ieraci

    Public hospital clinician

    While we're looking at unsupported claims for homeopathic "remedies", should we also question whether the products that are being sold actually contain what they are said to contain?

    The idea of quality control at the homeopathic factory would be challenging. If you took a sample from various bottles, how could you tell whether it no longer contained any molecules of Nat Mr or whether it no longer contained any arnica? If the label says that they are different, shouldn't they be measurably different?

    What does the Competition and Consumer Act (old Trades Practices Act) say about labeling of commercial products?

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    1. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      The idiocy of homoeopathy is also revealed when its proponents respond to criticisms by claiming it's an individualised treatment yet homoeopathic preparations flogged in chemists and elsewhere are presumably mass produced.

      When it comes to double standards you can count on proponents of SCAM's to outdo each other.

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  8. Michael Tomlinson
    Michael Tomlinson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Instead of rushing to judgement and reinforcing each other's prejudices, I suggest people take a look at the evidence or gain some actual experience of homeopathic treatment. A good place to start with the evidence might be: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1475491612000811

    I won't comment further except in the unlikely event that someone reviews the evidence in an unbiassed spirit and has something reasonable to say about it.

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    1. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Michael Tomlinson

      Hi Michael, Thanks for citing a paper behind a paywall. Thankfully I have access through my institution. Ddi you read this study? This is their conclusion;

      "Our findings clarify the RCT literature in homeopathy. The 263 accepted journal papers will be the basis for our forthcoming programme of systematic reviews."

      Essentially it is a paper that is looking at all the available trials that cover homeopathy and then classify them on whether they are placebo controlled, or in a book, or peer reviewed…

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    2. Michael Tomlinson
      Michael Tomlinson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Dave Hawkes

      Research production is driven by dollars, Dave as I'm sure you would know. The quantity of research on homeopathy is commensurate with the funding available, or better, given that virtually no funding available. I know this to my cost having been unable to fund two proposed studies which consequently never saw the light of day. Funding is always plentiful in fields like statins, where fat profits are to be made.

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    3. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Michael Tomlinson

      This is what's known as special pleading. Just because you can't fund your study doesn't mean that homeopathy works. The question is whether homeopathy works and the gold standard for clinical therapies is double blind randomized placebo controlled clinical trials in humnas. If you can link me to a specific trial that demonstrates that homeopathy works better than placebo I am more than happy to have a look

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    4. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Michael Tomlinson

      Michael Tomlinson - I am one of those people who have taken the time to read the research on homeopathy in detail. They show no good evidence of effect beyond placebo.

      Just as concerning is the huge mark-up in price for "remedies" that are essentially water and/or alcohol in little dropper bottles, or little sugar/lactose pills.

      I have reviewed the evidence, but I suspect you are prejudiced about "something reasonable to say about it". I'd say that it's a placebo treatment which is priced way above the costs of the materials, mainly used for self-limiting conditions. Is that "reasonable" enough for you?

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    5. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Michael Tomlinson

      Michael Tomlinson - do you know of the huge multinational manufacturer of homeopathic "remedies", Boiron? Can you explain whey their R&D costs are way below those of pharmaceutical manufacturers?

      If a 20 ml dropper bottle of water/and/or alcohol can be sold for $18 in Australia (source available), equating to a price of $900 per litre, why can't a proportion of this huge profit go into research?

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    6. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Angela Ballard

      Not at all Angela, The lack of double blind randomized placebo controlled human clinical trials means there is no evidence that homeopathy works better than placebo. If you want homeopathy to be taken seriously you need evidence, not even necessarily to know how it works, just that it works better than placebo

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    7. Angela Ballard

      Consultant/Facilitator at Atmosphere Consulting

      In reply to Dave Hawkes

      I have all the evidence I need Dave. It works, wonderfully, for me.

      I suppose I am astonished to hear people rubbishing something just because 'science' has yet to give it the big tick. And, from many accounts, is may well work better than placebo. But as has been pointed out, who funds research and why? We will have to await the review of trials being published by Elsevier...a very well known and highly respected scientific publisher.

      Physics understands the quantum though physicists might…

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    8. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Angela Ballard

      Again, one personal opinion is not science. Also science does not judge homeopathy, it is purely a method. The idea of a trial is to give someone homeopathy and someone else just a sugar pill but not to tell either person (or the doctor or homeopathist) which is which, then have a look at the outcomes. Homeopathy does not perform better than the placebo.

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    9. Angela Ballard

      Consultant/Facilitator at Atmosphere Consulting

      In reply to Dave Hawkes

      I know personal opinion its not science. I do not claim it to be But I am talking about personal experience...which has validity...especially if the experiences were researched en masse. But 'science' insists on doing things its way.... as if it is the only way to validate results

      I think you are missing the point I am trying to make.

      What I am asking is ...is it possible to step outside of scientism and see the limits of its claims and ways of inquiry?.

      A mate of mine poo pooed homeopathy…

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    10. Tim Traynor

      Rocket Surgeon

      In reply to Angela Ballard

      > I know personal opinion its not science.

      Good.

      > I do not claim it to be.

      Warmer...

      > But I am talking about personal experience...which has validity...especially if the experiences were researched en masse.

      And we're cold again! :-|

      They have been researched. And been shown to be ineffective! Oi.

      > But 'science' insists on doing things its way.... as if it is the only way to validate results

      Because it is... Duh!

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    11. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Angela Ballard

      Again you are confusing what science is. You even express this without knowing it.
      "Yes there are issues in assessing homeopathy's validity in terms of western science..because of the nature of two very different systems of medicine."

      Not at all. The question is does using homeopathy effectively treat the condition better than just water (or other placebo). I have no problem with a variety of aspects being involved but this is why we use placebo's - to try and work out whether the homeopathy is the reason for the improvement in symptoms.

      Just show that homeopathy works better than placebo, nothing more.

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    12. Angela Ballard

      Consultant/Facilitator at Atmosphere Consulting

      In reply to Dave Hawkes

      I am not confusing it Dave....nor am I doing that without knowing.
      I am simply expressing that while one may compare apples and oranges they are not the same thing and that there are other ways of testing the validity of both without recourse to limited scientific method.

      The validity claims for homeopathy come from generations of application.

      To simply say that it needs to be proved that it works better than placebo is simply a refusal to engage with the arguments made about other ways of knowing and validity. Fundamental scientism at its best!

      Go read Thomas Kuhn chaps...a bit of philosophy of science might help shift the myopia

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    13. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Angela Ballard

      Ok, I will say this slowly.

      If "the validity claims for homeopathy come from generations of application" then where is the evidence?

      Surely the introduction of homeopathy would result in a widespread reduction in disease (morbidity and mortality), an increase in life expectancy, and.... Oh yeah it didn't. Indoor plumbing, vaccinations, antibiotics and a wide range of other public health initiatives did all those things. Surely if homeopathy is an effective system for maintaining health there…

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    14. Angela Ballard

      Consultant/Facilitator at Atmosphere Consulting

      In reply to Dave Hawkes

      Refer to my earlier examples of acupuncture and experience. And let me say this really slowly....yes...you do need read Kuhn..to understand that science is a socially constructed paradigm and that construction impacts the ways things (including empirical evidence - evidence from subjective experience and validity claims) are viewed.

      Can't argue with fundamentalists!

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    15. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Angela Ballard

      Again, what is the evidence that acupuncture works better than placebo needle treatment?

      And again we are not dealing with an abstract concept we are talking about measurable health outcomes (treatment equals reduction in disease). You are trying to hide from the fact that you are not providing any evidence, of any sort, that homeopathy works

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    16. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Angela Ballard

      Angela Ballard - would you accept that the "benefit" you feel you have obtained is from the placebo effect?

      If not, you must be a fundamentalist, because comparisons of homeopathy with placebo show no advantage.

      Would you consider it ethical for medical practitioners or nurses to treat you with placebo, without declaring it?

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    17. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Angela Ballard

      "that understand the interconnections between mind/ body/emotions far far better than the western variety"

      Ms Ballard - did you know that homeopathy was made up by a nineteenth century German - it is a "western" theory. After 250 years, no evidence has been found to support it. "Eastern countries", at the same time, are embracing effective ("western") medicine as they are able to afford it.

      You may just have to come to terms with the fact that you are susceptible to placebo. You are not unique…

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    18. Michael Tomlinson
      Michael Tomlinson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      There was a bit in my suggestion about reviewing the evidence 'in an unbiassed spirit'. Have you tried that approach yet, Sue? Or have you reviewed some small part of the evidence from the perspective of the chief prosecutor?

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    19. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Michael Tomlinson

      This is the part you don't understand Michael. Scientists are not being harsh on homeopathy they are being thorough, exactly the same thing that happens to scientific papers. I am yet to hear of a paper being accepted by any decent journal without amendments being required, more often than not more experiments to acts as controls. Science is a method of asking questions and trying to undertsand the natural world. Homeopathy is a system of belief invented by an 18th century german doctor. Science shows the mistakes that are being made and corrects them, homeopathy keeps trying to plaster over ever increasingly sized cracks

      I looked at the evidence you gave us and it was not actually evidence, it was a methods paper on how to look at homeopathy studies.

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    20. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Michael Tomlinson

      Michael Tomlinson - that's what 's known in debate as "shifting the goalposts". The research doesn't show what you want it to show, so you come back with:
      "But it can;t be tested with conventional scientific methods"
      or
      "The person reading it was biased"
      or
      "Western medicine doesnt work for everything"

      DO you think homeopathy works, Michael TOmlinson? The you are biased - because no good research supports that view.

      If you think otherwise, take us through some good studies in detail - not just the conclusion from the abstracts - the WHOLE study. What was the research question? How did they construct the study? Was it adequately powered? Did they use valid controls? What was the precise methodology and was it valid? What were the results and how were they analysed? Were the statistical methods appropriate? Did they identify and outline confounders and limitations? Are the conclusions justified by the findings?

      I look forward to reading your information.

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  9. drchristo aa

    doctor

    HOMEOPATHY WORKS AND IS THE MOST ADVANCED SCIENCE OF HEALING....HOMEOPATHY NEVER FAILS...
    FOLLOWING ARE FEW DOUBLE BLIND BLIND STUDY THAT SHOW HOMEOPATHY WORKS...

    1) Gibson et al. 'Homeopathic therapy in rheumatoid arthritis: evaluation by double-blind trial clinical therapeutic trial.' Br J Clin.Pharm. 1980; 9: 453-9. Significant improvement found in subjective pain, stiffness, grip strength and articular index from homoeopathic treatment verses placebo using 46
    patients with rheumatoid arthritis…

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    1. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to drchristo aa

      if you dilute your comments to something approaching nonsense, you'll find they are more powerful – if you really believe in homoeopathy…

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    2. Mike Jubow

      forestry nurseryman

      In reply to drchristo aa

      "Mixed grass pollen 30C used in randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trials demonstrating significant reduction in symptoms in (a) 144 patients with hayfever, and (b) asthma".

      How interesting! grass pollens, as I learned when at Uni, are from 20 to 90 microns in diameter. So, if we select a smaller one, say 25 microns, this gives us some 413,000 pollen grains per milligram. Now if we do a six times dilution series, we have 0.41 pollen grains per 10 millilitres. I didn't bother going all…

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    3. Laurie Willberg

      Journalist

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      This is what happens when someone with a 5 minute knowledge of homeopathic pharmacy thinks they're some sort of expert.
      Homeopathic preparations are made using double distilled water and ethyl alcohol. They are not merely diluted but subjected to agitation at each step.
      Magnetic resonance imaging and electron spectroscopy have found starting materials in remedies as high as 200C.
      Time to put away the high school chemistry and graduate to materials science, Mike.

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    4. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Laurie, those of us who have actually spent a little time following the homoeopathy charade over the last couple of decades have a pretty good understanding of why homoeopathy cannot work, and, the procedure for producing a remedy.

      By the way, during the preparation of a remedy, each successive dillution undergoes "succussion" rather than just mere agitation. There is a difference according to authoritative homoeopaths (pardon the oxymoron)

      Got a link to your claim regarding magnetic resonance? I suspect not but I hope you can prove me wrong. Apologists for homoeopathy have form when it comes to making unfounded scientific claims.

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    5. Mike Jubow

      forestry nurseryman

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      So as a journalist, One could presume that you are highly qualified in the use and analysis of Magnetic resonance imaging and electron spectroscopy?

      So, it seems that the current method of defense of a proposition to use by homeopathetic supporters, is to personally attack the purveyor of reasoned argument?

      Until you people can supply convincing evidence to the contrary, your 18th century "science" is, and always will be, consigned to the category of baloney and confidence trickery.

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    6. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Very amusing, Laurie Willberg.

      The nanotechnology and high dilution literature have come up with two main findings:
      - If you bang a glass bottle of water on a hard surface and then analyse the contents, you will find silica particles - arising from the glass (Indian paper - frequently cited)

      - SOme solutions that have been diluted and banged on tables contain some molecules of something, but the number of molecules appears to be unrelated to the quoted "dilutions" (they might just be contaminants in whatever container the magic water is stored in for analysis).

      Of course, neither of these approaches show that water with the odd molecule in it does anything therapeutic.

      Time to start high school chemistry.

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    7. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Just cite the double-blind, peer-reviewed studies which demonstrate that homeopathy has effects beyond the placebo effect!

      I'd rather have a placebo anytime.

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  10. Laurie Willberg

    Journalist

    By now just about everybody knows about the failure of the pertussis vaccine and there is obviously considerable speculation going on about it worldwide.
    Here's one speculation from the Journal of the American Medical Association: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1273011
    So where do people go to lodge a legal complaint and obtain compensation for the failure of the vaccine to protect their children after being duped by health officials that it's safe and effective? Hmm?
    Septic skeptics are always looking for ways to slam Homeopathy, hence these frivolous "advertising standards" complaints and a disproportionate hue and cry in anti-alternative medicine blogs like this one.
    Consumers are smart enough to make their own choices.

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    1. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Laurie, if consumers were smart enough to make their own choices we wouldn't need consumer protection authorities. QED

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    2. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Please read your references before blindly citing them. this study compared the acellular pertussis (aP) vaccine with the older whole cell pertussis vaccine (wP). It is well established that the wP works better as it contains over 3000 antigens whereas the acellular pertussis contains 3 - 5 antigens. It is worth noting that the aP vaccine is not working as well as is required but it still reduced pertussis infection by 82%. Laurie, science is unlike homeopathy, just because you say it is doesn't mean it is true

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    3. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      It is widely known that the current (accelular) pertussis vaccine is not the most effective of the vaccines, as it was modified to reduce the number of reactions. It's much more effective than nothing, however.

      Raising one small limitation of one aspect of medical therapeutics does nothing to enhance the effectiveness of little drops of water, however.

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    4. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Stick to the subject Laurie! You are just hand-waving "look over here" by citing irrelevancy such as "failure of pertussis vaccine".

      I repeat, show us the peer-reviewed papers which provide clear support for the alleged efficacy of homeopathy. This should be easy enough for someone who calls himself a journalist.

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  11. Dan Buzzard

    IT Consultant

    This is fantastic news. I wonder if the ACCC will also take on others who lie about vaccinations. In particular the Australian Vaccination Network.

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    1. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Dan Buzzard

      Dan, you'll be pleased to know the AVN is just about dead in the water, their one-time supreme leader, Meryl Dorey has stepped down from leading the outfit, their website is riddled with viruses and I'm pretty sure they are still in trouble with a couple of government departments in relation to failure to comply with regulations dealing with donations. Check with the Australian Skeptics website or the SAVN facebook page for the latest info.

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    2. Dan Buzzard

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Oh yes, I've been following the downward spiral of the AVN for about three years now. It would seem they're up a certain creek without a paddle.

      A bit of extra heat from the ACCC wouldn't hurt.

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    3. Adam Richards

      Teacher

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      "...their website is riddled with viruses...". I love the irony of this. Maybe they used the homeopathic version of anti-virus software?

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  12. Mark Williams

    Doctor

    How dare you lot knock Homeopathy! I shall locate your homes, discover the feeder reservoirs for your water supply, and administer just 3 drops of Vitamin C!
    Ha, let's see you scoff when your teeth fall out & your gums start to bleed.
    BwaHaHaHaaa!!!!!
    Watch out for the Dark Side of Homeopathy!!!!!

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  13. Bazzio Newton

    retired hurt at game of life

    Perhaps those with PhD's in blather could explain the EXACT mechanism by which aspirin works in the human body before rounding upon that which your pomposity & beliefs finds so easy to deny! Forget http links ~ just explain in simple words the exact way that aspirin works (for us uneducated morons). Stand up on your high horses & let's hear it!
    MiM's might be a good reference starting point.
    As regards Homoeopathic Medicine ~ there is existant compelling evidence (seek & ye shall find). But the all-too-common experience of homoeopath's & homoeopathic adherant's (as evidenced in this 'conversation') is that it is still very much unwise to cast pearls before swine, lest they be trampled underfoot.

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    1. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Bazzio Newton

      No PhD needed - just pharmacology 101.

      Aspirin has an anti-inflammatory effect by its action on prostaglandin synthetase (blocking prostaglandin production - part of the inflammatory pathway) and also by inhibiting cyclo-oxygenase (COX).
      It also has an effect on platelets (clotting cells in blood).

      Simple enough for you.

      And homeopathy? Does nothing beyond placebo.

      ("Stand up on your high horses"? Nice mixed metaphor, Apostrophe Man).

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    2. Bazzio Newton

      retired hurt at game of life

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      "effects" are not scientific explanations ~ "effects" as you state is exactly the same reasoning that is being condemned in homoeopathic medicine. What is the MECHANISM by which aspirin alleviates pain (which is not necessarily due to some nefarious 'inflammation'

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    3. Laurie Willberg

      Journalist

      In reply to Bazzio Newton

      The mechanism for aspirin wasn't discovered until the 1990s even though people used it since its development about 90 years earlier. The mechanism of action for anaesthetics is not understood, and if you look up any drug compendium you'll find hundreds of similar examples.
      Homeopathy has enjoyed a huge clinical success rate for about 250 years.
      "Scientific explanations" are theoretical, not conclusive. Nothing in science is conclusive. Theories are constantly being overturned by new ones. Experimentation is a process of discovery.
      A number of bloggers have made comments that homeopathic medicines have no effect. This obviously overturns that opinion.
      You're indulging in opinions that reveal a double standard.

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    4. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      To Laurie Willberg and Bazzio101, If homeopathy has had huge clinical successes for 250 yrs please feel free to post the huge double blind randomized placebo controlled clinical trials (DBRPCT). If you actually do some research you will find over 6000 controlled clinical trials including aspirin since the 1960's. Please don't confuse being able to understand the mechanism with being able to measure the effect. There is no good evidence that homeopathy has an effect greater than placebo. If it had an effect we might want to investigate how as we would need to throw out a number of laws of physics and chemistry. Please provide evidence stronger than you own unvalidated opinions

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    5. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Bazzio Newton

      blocking prostaglandin synthetase and inhibiting COX are MECHANISMS, Bazzio101.

      Inflammation is not "nefarious" - it's a well-decribed chain of events that you can easily look up if you genuinely want to understand it.

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    6. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      "The mechanism of action for anaesthetics is not understood"

      Perhaps by YOU, Laurie Willberg. That doesn't mean nobody understands it.

      Learn some basic science, then attempt to read some pharmacology. You'll find that the term "anaesthetics" embraces a diverse group of drugs - with different mechanisms of action. You can read about ion channels, nicotinic and GABA receptors - and so much more.

      Meanwhile, homeopathy is still attempting to justify its entire existence, against the laws of physics and chemistry.

      How can you subscribe to orthololecular medicine and non-molecular medicine at the same time?

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    7. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Bazzio Newton

      Sue has administered an aspirin to you Bazzio101. Your views sound rather anti-intellectual. As others have said, just supply scientifically sound evidence. If there is there is "existant compelling evidence" just point us to the links and we can evaluate the "evidence" for ourselves.

      Oh and just because others who comment on this site have denigrated those who espouse homeopathy in no uncertain terms does not mean that you are some misunderstood contrarians; it might just mean that there is no "compelling evidence" that withstands mainstream scientific scrutiny.

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  14. Laurie Willberg

    Journalist

    http://www.homeopathyjournal.net/article/S1475-4916(12)00082-3/fulltext
    The present study showed, for the first time, the development of a new biotherapy prepared from infectious influenza A virus to be capable of modifying cellular and biochemical aspects of MDCK and J774G8 cell lines. The cellular alterations observed in MDCK cells treated with the biotherapy were verified by optical microscopy and the alterations in mitosis rate and lipid bodies showed significant differences when these cells…

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    1. Adam Richards

      Teacher

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Instead of continually posting new links to homeopathic research, it would be wonderful if you would reply to the people that have challenged your previous posts.

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    2. Mike Jubow

      forestry nurseryman

      In reply to Adam Richards

      Adam, the link Laurie Willberg offered above is something similar to an hilarious one written by some biology honours students where I went to uni. They proposed using cytoplasmic hybridization in vitro to introduce chloroplasts into the skin of humans. This would remove the need to eat sugars,starches and other carbohydrates. With green skin, we could all happily stand around in the sun photosynthesising. All we would then need would be a small protein intake at most. It would also have the benefit of removing the need for aged care if we also introduced the genes coding for the production of plant growth hormones. That way, all we would need to do to look after granny in her old age would be to plant her feet in the garden, let them take root and water with the garden sprinkler once a week. The lecturer to whom this was shown thought it was delightful comedy. None of the combined authors were offended.

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    3. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Here is a brief summation of this paper
      Fig 1. pretty picture - no data
      Fig 2: homeopathy no different than placebo (successed water)
      Table 2A: homeopathy no different than placebo (successed water)
      Table 2B: homeopathy no different than placebo (successed water)
      Table 3: 5 days post treatment-homeopathy no different than placebo (successed water)
      also 10 days post treatment-homeopathy no different than placebo (successed water)
      Fig 3 30 days post treatment - homeopathy causes more…

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    4. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Hmmm - THAT study.

      Learn some critical review skills, Laurie. That group started with a sample of influenza virus, and diluted it in water, thus: "Briefly, 100 μL of this virus suspension at 10,240 HAU/25 μL were diluted in 0.9 ml of sterile distilled water, to make the first dilution (1:10 dilution). This 1:10 sample was submitted to 100 mechanical succussions for 33 s (approximately 3 Hz), using an Autic® machine, to produce the 1st decimal dilution (1dH). One ml of this solution was diluted…

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    5. Adam Richards

      Teacher

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      That actually sounds like a good idea. Since finishing uni I have moved around a lot. The above proposal would encourage me to put down roots.

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  15. Elizabeth Hart

    Independent Vaccine Investigator

    In regards to the above article, I recently forwarded the following enquiry to Associate Professor Ruiting Lan, University of New South Wales, to which I am awaiting a response:
    Professor Lan
    I have recently read your JID Brief Report regarding the Australian pertussis epidemic in 2008-2010 (1) which states
    "B. pertussis isolates collected from 4 Australian states during an ongoing pertussis epidemic that began in 2008 were classified using SNPs, MLVA, fim3, prn, and ptxP typing. SNP cluster…

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    1. Elizabeth Hart

      Independent Vaccine Investigator

      In reply to Elizabeth Hart

      Further to my previous comment re my enquiry to Professor Ruiting Lan (forwarded in December 2012). I subsequently followed up with an email to Professor Lyn Gilbert: http://over-vaccination.net/questionable-vaccines/whooping-cough/
      I concluded my email to Professor Lan with the following questions:
      Q. Professor Lan can you please clarify for me how increasing the number of 'boosters' of the existing vaccine protects against the new strain?
      Q. Also, how is vaccination "still the best way to reduce transmission of the disease and reduce cases" particularly if "vaccine-induced selection could contribute to the expansion of cluster I"?
      As yet I have not received any response to my emails, another example of the alarming lack of accountability of the scientific/medical establishment for vaccination practice.
      Elizabeth Hart - http://over-vaccination.net/

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    2. Elizabeth Hart

      Independent Vaccine Investigator

      In reply to Elizabeth Hart

      I've been interested to read more articles recently about “vaccine-resistant pertussis/whooping cough”, e.g. this article in USA Today - “Whooping cough may be becoming resistant to vaccines”: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2013/02/08/whooping-cough-may-be-becoming-resistant-to-vaccines/1903439/ and this CIDRAP article - “Researchers find first US evidence of vaccine-resistant pertussis”: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/other/news/feb0713pertussis.html
      I find it odd that while…

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    3. Elizabeth Hart

      Independent Vaccine Investigator

      In reply to Elizabeth Hart

      Further to my previous comment, I also question revaccination of children (10-17 years) with this vaccine, i.e. as recommended by the Australian National Immunisation Program Schedule (as at May 2012): http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/nips2
      The USA Today article I referred to in my previous comment also warns that "the protection offered by the whooping cough vaccine fades more quickly than previously thought". I really have a problem with this concept…

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    4. Laurie Willberg

      Journalist

      In reply to Elizabeth Hart

      Excellent posts, Elizabeth. I just viewed your excellent website and your link to an article on preventive medicine by David L. Sackett who is the originator of the term "evidence-based medicine".
      "Preventive medicine displays all 3 elements of arrogance. First, it is aggressively assertive, pursuing symptomless individuals and telling them what they must do to remain healthy. Occasionally invoking the force of law (immunizations, seat belts), it prescribes and proscribes for both individual patients…

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    5. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Elizabeth Hart

      Wow, nearly 1000 words and the only citations you present to support your oft repeated, never supported, argument are;

      a letter you wrote
      an email you wrote
      your own website
      A published paper you disagree with
      An article from the UNSW newsroom you disagree with
      Articles from USA Today showing there are vaccine resistant strains of pertussis
      An article about scientists finding more information about non vaccine strains of pertussis so they can make the vaccine more effective
      An article on Boston.com (by a doctor) you disagree with
      Immunise Australia website (to show we vaccinate I guess)
      And your own website again

      Just because there are vaccine strains that are no covered by the vaccine doesn't mean the vaccine doesn't work. I am sure you will respond with another long, data free diatribe but to be honest I am sick of trying to get you to realise that your views are not founded in science but as a result of your personal belief/bias

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    6. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      This argument is called a Strawman. For all the proponents of homeopathy, Prove it works with double blind randomized placebo controlled clinical trials in humans before you worry about anything else. Until you provide this evidence it is clear you are trying to distract people with smoke and mirrors

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    7. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Elizabeth Hart

      Elizabeth Hart - do you recommend that your patients use "homeopathic vaccination"?

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  16. Angela Ballard

    Consultant/Facilitator at Atmosphere Consulting

    It works for me! Safe, cheap and highly effective on a large range of issues over 15 years homeopathics have worked where western medicine had nothing to offer but long term physical therapies, surgery and/or drugs for life.

    Science, including medical science doesn't know what it doesn't know and should maintain a curiosity about other modalities that offer relief. Otherwise it falls into its own fundamentalism - scientism. There are other epistemologies that need to be considered.

    Acupuncture…

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    1. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Angela Ballard

      I am glad you thiink it works for you. Unfortunately you need more than one person to show a treatment works, especiallywhen people may be affected by the placebo affect. If you want to try and produce good quality evidence (see above comments) that it works please feel free. Until then your personal experience holds no scientific weight due to biases

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    2. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Angela Ballard

      "It works for me"

      Yes - placebos work for self-limiting illnesses - which get better without the need to pay for a "therapist" or a "remedy".

      And "cheap" - are you kidding? At $18 for a 20 ml dropper bottle of water, that's $900 per litre!

      Would you be happy if a real doctor sold you an inert substance and charged you a huge mark-up for it? Luckily, "Doctors like that are very very hard to find."

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  17. Bazzio Newton

    retired hurt at game of life

    "Science-Based" = Lies
    Not one vaccine has ever been double-blind tested ~ The double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, the gold standard of organized medicine, has never been used to compare vaccinated and un-vaccinated individuals. No risk-to-benefit studies have ever been done. Vaccines remain scientifically unproven.
    A challenge to the must vaccinate hysterics ~
    1. provide one double-blind, placebo-controlled study that can prove the safety and effectiveness of vaccines
    2. provide…

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    1. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Bazzio Newton

      "Bazzio101" - you need a visit to the AAS publication "The Science of Vaccination". It's all explained clearly.

      The you might realise that vaccines don't "target a virus" - they provoke the immune reaction to a specific response against the antigens they contain.

      Vaccines have nothing to do with viral mutations. Mutation is a spontaneous process.

      Evidence that vaccination has produced disease reduction? Here's a couple of biggies:
      - Polio in India (despite wodespread abject opverty and poor sanitation)
      - CHildhood HiB disease (such as epiglottitis) in AUstralian since the 1980's (with no change in sanitation or nutrition).

      Proof of long-term safety? All the millions or billions of people who have been vaccinated.

      Oh, and, if science-based = lies, why would you want vaccines tested by scientific method (which they are)?

      No challenges so far from your long post. Just the same old anti-vax tropes that have been debunked many times over.

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    2. Bazzio Newton

      retired hurt at game of life

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Claims don't equal evidence, Sue Ieraci, verifiable documentation does ~ the same verified evidence -based reports being asked of Homoeopathic Medicine are simply not provided by Pharmacology or Medicine.
      Polio in India followed the same course as in the western world following sanitation reforms which are existential in India.
      Type B influenza is attributable to indiscriminate 'Flu vaccination from the viral mutations that are being so deftly ignored. Viral mutation is as much related to assaults by vaccines as it is speciously nominated "spontaneous".
      Autism is an acceptable outcome that proves vaccine safety, is it?
      Robert F. Kennedy Jr. comments on the cover-up: Vaccines, Mercury/ thimerosal & Autism
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrIM2hwrLoc
      Rep. Dan Burton & Dr. Andrew Wakefieldcomment on the cover-up: Vaccines, Mercury/ thimerosal & Autism
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0Y1VTYzLYy4

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    3. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Bazzio Newton

      If you ever wondered why no one is taking your rants seriously Baz, here it is.

      The HIB vaccine is against Haemophilus influenzae type B which is a bacteria, not a virus. It has nothing to do with the "flu" vaccine.

      "Viral mutation is as much related to assaults by vaccines as it is speciously nominated "spontaneous"". Ok, so care to explain why HIV-1 has a mutation rate of 30 - 80 base pair mutations per replication cycle? Considering the genome of around 10, 000 bases. There is no vaccine against HIV-1.

      Youtube videos, politicians sons, a politician and a discredited ex-doctor are not reliable sources of information on health.

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    4. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Bazzio Newton

      I realised you were probably not referring to HIB. Influenzavirus B (not type B) is a 'flu virus but there does not seem to be any evidence to support whatever it is you are suggesting. Even the confusion you created by confusing the name of HIB and influenza B suggests that maybe science is not your thing.

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  18. Michael Tomlinson
    Michael Tomlinson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    logged in via LinkedIn

    No time to respond to cheap debating points.

    Still waiting for someone to make their mind up *after* that impartial and unbiassed review of the evidence that I called for.

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    1. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Michael Tomlinson

      What evidence? If you are asking for someone to review the 137 studies in the history of homeopathy that were randomized and included a placebo control then that is a bit much.

      If you think homeopathy works then present the study which you consider makes the strongest case for homeopathy. please rememeber it should include the following attributes; include humans not animals or cells alone, placebo controlled, appropriately blinded, should have porper ethical approval and obviously it should be well designed with sufficient numbers to produce robust results.
      I look forward to being able to assess the evidence you supply

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    2. Michael Tomlinson
      Michael Tomlinson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Dave Hawkes

      It is *not* too much to ask for a broad range of evidence to be considered without bias. I will not stake all on one RCT out of 137, or accept your arbitrary exclusion from consideration of other evidence such as animal studies when the principal charge against homeopathy is that it is no more than placebo.

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    3. Laurie Willberg

      Journalist

      In reply to Michael Tomlinson

      Hawkes is obviously one of these die-hard "skeptics" who has appointed himself an arbiter of science.
      As Dr. Andre Saine has pointed out, the more research that is done, especially with current technology (such as the ITT Bombay studies, Prof. Luc Montagnier's work on bacterial signalling), the greater the evidence supporting Homeopathy as a science.
      Let's not forget that Samuel Hahnemann was the only MD/scientist using a scientific method to determine the effects of medicinal substances when the "other guys" were still killing their patients and blaming the disease instead of their own incompetence. His speculation about the existence of bacteria predated Pasteur by decades, as well as his insights into what would now be called epigenetic and genetic causes of disease.
      We're still having a hard time getting doctors and nurses to wash their hands between patients and fess up to their mistakes.

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    4. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Michael Tomlinson

      Michael,

      Homeopaths present homeopathy as a health system for humans.

      In order to provide evidence that homeopathy works more effectively than placebo it makes sense that you demonstrate it ...in humans. If you are willing to admit that you don't think it is appropriate for people to be sold homeopathy water/sugar water/alcohol at $900 per litre without any clinical evidence then obviously that changes the parameters of your argument. Until that time evidence for homeopathy should be produced in human clinical trials.

      As this thread is over 100 posts and none of the homeopathy supporters have produced even one human clinical trial I think this is a reasonable indication of the strength of evidence supporting the use of homeopathy as an alternative form of medicine

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    5. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Just to be clear "Dr" Andre Saine is neither a medical doctor nor a PhD. He is a naturopath/homeopath/chiropractor. Obviously the years of university, clinical practice and other study required to become any of these type of alternative medicine practitioners doesn't leave enough time to... oh yeah it does leave enough time to become acredited for all three.
      "Luc Montagnier's work on bacterial signalling" I thought someone would bring this up. This was published in the second issue ever of the…

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    6. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Michael Tomlinson

      "No time to respond to cheap debating points."

      Suggestion:
      1. Save time by no longer posting meaningless comments
      2. Use that time to post detailed critical review of any good papers you can find on homeopathy - including analysis of research question, methodology, actual findings, data analysis, limitations etc.

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    7. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Michael Tomlinson

      "I will not stake all on one RCT"

      Translation: "I haven't read all the studies and I wouldn't know how to analyse them anyway".

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    8. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Let's see: Dave Hawkes, a practising scientist is challenged by Laurie Willberg - neither scientist nor journalist - on what "real science" is.

      Very amusing.

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    9. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Laurie Willberg

      Laurie WIllberg: Even if every single doctor and nurse in the world washed their hands every five minutes throughout all of eternity, it wouldn't lend any credence to magic water. Homeopathy doesn't work (except as placebo). It can't work.

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    10. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Dave Hawkes

      We recognise that the ancient Greek philosophers were wrong in their model of "humours" - they constructed an intellectual model because they didn't have the technology to test it - nor the accumulated evidence from the modern clinical sciences.

      That doesn't mean they weren't brillian thinkers - just that accumulating evidence revised their theoretical model.

      Hahnemann may well have been a brilliant thinker too - but he, also, got it wrong, and has been disproven by accumulating evidence from the clinical sciences.

      If he were alive today, I suspect he would have moved with the times, like most people.

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    11. Mike Jubow

      forestry nurseryman

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, surely there is enough evidence now that homoeopathy is just plain, good old fashioned, FRAUD? Why aren't the authorities prosecuting the purveyors of this rubbish being charged? It is fraud when you misrepresent a product that does not do what it is claimed to do so the hucksters should be charged for obtaining money under false pretences.

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    12. Michael Tomlinson
      Michael Tomlinson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      What evidence?

      Nobody has referred to any evidence except the beleaguered defenders of homeopathy. Your comments are offensive, bordering on defamatory.

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    13. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      Not only is the concept a fraud, but what proof is there that the liquids or "pillules" bear any resemblance to what is on the label?

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  19. Bazzio Newton

    retired hurt at game of life

    Nobel Prize Winner Luc Montagnier Supports Science of Homeopathy . . . . .
    Montagnier's research (and other of many of his colleagues) has verified that electromagnetic signals of the original medicine remains in the water and has dramatic biological effects.
    http://www.naturalnews.com/031210_Luc_Montagnier_Homeopathy.html

    Edzard Ernst is a prize-winning physician and the founder of two medical journals . . . . . . . .
    Yet as a clinician almost 30 years ago, I was impressed with the results…

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    1. Dave Hawkes

      Postdoctoral Researcher (Viral tools and Neuropeptides) at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

      In reply to Bazzio Newton

      Anything on Naturalnews is generally considered suspect, ditto could be said for "Dr" Nancy Malik (not a doctor, a homeopath). The naturalnews article is a report on the Montagnier study I dealt with earlier. The number of studies of homeopathy is not the problem, it is the very poor quality and lack of controls in these studies.

      Kudos for citing Edzard Ernst;

      Here is his CV
      http://edzardernst.com/about/edzard-ernst/

      and here is the concluding paragraph from the article you cite;
      "My…

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  20. Peter Kington

    Raconteur, ideas man and food whore at Self Employed

    Here's what I want to know:

    how do all you people have enough hours in your days where you can be journalists, public health clinicians and research officers at a large research facility etc and still have enough time to carry on a "conversation like this and still meet work targets, live life and (hopefully) play.

    Whoa, now THAT impresses me to no end :-)

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