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article imageHealth officer wants 'dangerous' homeopathic vaccines off market

By Marcus Hondro     Feb 17, 2015 in Health
Some medical officials in Canada called for an outright ban on homeopathic nosodes Tuesday, saying they are ineffective and not an alternative to vaccines. The chief public health officer of Nova Scotia called them "dangerous."
Nosodes: Ineffective treatment for disease
Dr. Robert Strang of Nova Scotia said there is nothing to show the nosodes — sold by homeopaths, naturopaths and even chiropractors as a natural substitute to vaccines for bacteria and viruses — can prevent such illnesses.
"There's no evidence to support their claims at all around providing immunity against infectious diseases," Dr. Strang told CBC News this week. "I think, frankly, having them available on the market is dangerous. It's distracting and it's helping people avoid immunization or giving them a reason not to be immunized."
His comments come at a time when there are 16 known cases of measles in Ontario, and many in the United States, in particular in New York City and California. There have been, despite a vaccine that prevents measles, cases throughout North and South America in the 21st century, and in Europe, Israel and other parts of the world.
MMR controversy and Andrew Wakefield
The illness may be taking advantage of controversy over the MMR vaccine that erupted in the late 1990s when a medical researcher in the U.K., Andrew Wakefield, claimed a study he conducted on 12 children showed the vaccine caused autism. His cautions spread to other countries and vaccinations fell off.
Mr. Wakefield, however, was shown to be a fraud who sought financial gain and his study shown to be rife with error and fiction. In 2010, a medical tribunal in the U.K. found him guilty of four counts of dishonesty and 12 of abusing developmentally challenged children; he was banned from ever again practicing medicine in that country.
But it appears the damage was done, and his fraud continues to affect how some parents look at the MMR vaccination. The resurgence of measles and whooping cough is due to families not inoculating their children, or trying unproven methods, such as the methods that Dr. Strang, and others, are opposed to.
Naturopathic vaccine: "No such thing"
A study often cited by homeopaths as a testament to the nosodes was shown to have serious flaws in a 2013 Globe and Mail story. There are no studies that show nosodes as an effective treatment for measles or whooping cough. While alternative practitioners continue to sell them, some researchers maintain nosodes are no more effective than a placebo.
Dr. Eric Hoskins, health minister for Ontario, also talked with the CBC about vaccines and homeopathic remedies: "There's no such thing as a homeopathic or a naturopathic vaccine," Dr. Hoskins said. "The only way you can protect yourself is by being vaccinated. So it does worry me anytime that there is misinformation out there in the public domain."
Dr. Robert Moriarty, president of the Canadian Pediatric Society, also spoke out against nosodes. "Licensed health officials and alternative health officials should be subject to the regulations of their profession and called to task if they continue to spread the anti-vaccination message," he said.
Since last year, Health Canada regulations require the packaging of the nosodes to have a warning on the label stating that "This product is not intended to be an alternative to vaccination."
With the resurgence of the measles, these doctors, and others, are saying the label is not doing enough to prevent people using a product they say is ineffective. Many want the product pulled from the market entirely.
More about Health canada, nosodes ineffective, measles vaccine, Measles outbreak
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