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Does Australia’s medical study prove homeopathy is not effective?

Unorthodox medicine has been called many things over the years: quackery, irregular medicine, fringe medicine, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). One of its most striking features is that it has been able to survive for centuries in many forms, even as it was being severely criticized by mainstream science.

Another feature of unorthodox medicine is that it has always been a “rich source of disputes, claims and counter-claims, and accusations of fraud.” (Fulder S. The Handbook of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1996) Before the 1800s, irregular practitioners who were known as “quacks” were used by a majority of the population — each one specializing in one area over another.

By a process known as ‘proving’, Dr. Hahnemann claimed to be able to compile a selection of appropriate remedies. This led to his famous aphorism, ‘like cures like’, which is often called the ‘principle of similars’: he cited Jenner’s use of cowpox vaccination to prevent smallpox as an example; later on the use of vaccinations to prevent measles would be used. The differences between orthodox medicine and homeopathy could hardly be more vivid in these two examples.

One of the most striking features of unorthodox medicine throughout history — variously described as quackery, irregular medicine, fringe medicine, or complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) — has been its ability to survive for centuries in a very wide variety of forms.

Homeopathy medicine is an alternative medical system that is considered a pseudoscience, developed in Germany over 200 years ago. However, in 2009, an article was posted in Student Pulse that contradicted the current position of homeopathy in Australia.

Research in Australia demonstrated that one of the reasons so many Australians seek out alternative and complementary medicine is because of the holistic philosophy which guides their work. Conversely, it is also the reason why many Australians are becoming less enthusiastic about western or conventional medicine. They see it as non-holistic in nature (Hassed, C.S. (2004). Bringing holism into mainstream biomedical education. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 10(2), 405-407.).



According to the Guardian, a new scientific and medical study shows that homeopathy has been found to be ineffective for treating any health condition. This conclusion was made after “an extensive review of existing studies. [225 pages]”

Dr. Ken Harvey, considered to be a medicinal drug policy expert and health consumer advocate in the medical study, was quoted in the Guardian as saying, “I have no problems with private colleges wanting to run courses on crystal-ball gazing, iridology and homeopathy, and if people are crazy enough to pay for it, it’s their decision.”

Dr. Harvey is in the medical field in Australia, known as a regular campaigner against nonscientific products and services. He has been put under great personal and financial pressure by a ‘SLAPP’ suit (a strategic lawsuit against public participation) over a complaint he has made concerning a natural slimming product.”

Dr. Harvey is a particularly busy activist against dubious claims by suppliers of self-proclaimed ‘therapeutic’ goods, in particular those associated with weight loss and against numerous products of the Swisse brand. Over the last few years, all of his complaints to the Therapeutic Goods Administration and assessed by the Complaints Resolution Panel have been listed as justified, until he resigned from that particular position. He is also a self-confessed “stubborn bastard”.

As of February 3, 2014, Dr. Harvey sent in a letter of resignation as the Adjunct Associate Professor of the School of Public Health. The therapeutic products involved were those of the Swisse brand.

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