Homeopathy Is Not An Effective Treatment For Any Health Condition, Australian Government Declares

Mar 13, 2015

Image credit: Pixabay

By Amy Nordrum

The remedies that homeopathic practitioners mix from plant and animal tissues do not work for treating any medical condition, says Australia’s leading health agency. Such treatments have not proven effective for any of the 61 health problems that the agency evaluated in a large review published Wednesday.

Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council examined 176 studies of homeopathic treatments for 61 medical conditions including asthma, anxiety, headaches, arthritis, ulcers and warts. The agency found that about half the treatments were no more effective than placebos, and ruled that the studies on the other half were not robust enough to determine whether the treatments worked. The agency concluded that homeopathy should not be considered an effective treatment for any condition.

Though it’s difficult to come by accurate estimates of the market for homeopathy, data from the World Health Organization indicate that it is likely an industry worth more than a billion dollars. France and Germany led the world in spending on homeopathic treatments in 2007 by handing over $408 million and $346 million, respectively. Australians spent about $7.3 million on treatments that year while Americans doled out $2.9 million.

Though Australia’s health agency did not evaluate the potential danger of treatments, officials did warn patients about relying solely on these methods. “People who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness,” the report stated.


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28 comments on “Homeopathy Is Not An Effective Treatment For Any Health Condition, Australian Government Declares

  • Why is it necessary to proved homeopathy bogus when every other drug has to prove efficacy? Somebody is paying off somebody or this idiocy would have gone with the medicine show tonics.



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  • I’m not sure about homeopathy in Australia, but here in the south it’s use is ingrained in the culture. People have been using these types of remedies for centuries, and some actually work though by far most are bogus.



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  • Another study has been released today in Australia that reveals the conflict of interest professional pharmacists have whereby they are contracted by the government to deliver approved scientific medicines at government expense and at the same time, to make money, they promote alternative remedies, including homeopathy. This is a good example of how we as a species can compartmentalize matters of ethical behaviour. A pharmacists has an ethical obligation to act in the best interests of his clients at government expense, by dispensing substances that have been proved to have scientific efficacy and at the same time, the very same brain will advise a person to buy angel wort or some such rubbish and describe its beneficial effects. Funny species.

    Whenever I visit a pharmacy, I observe how many shelf metres are set aside for scientific medicines and how many for “alternative remedies”. I usually get a figure of around 3 metres of alternatives to 1 metres of scientific. Very sad really.



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  • I would presume some alternative therapies work. For example I found ginger works better than any of the prescribed drugs I have tried. But homeopathy is a special case. It is just water/filler. It has no hope of working

    The con was invented in 1796, not all that long ago.



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  • 5
    brettcalgary says:

    If you wish to grind some good Ole willow bark or buds, or some nice aspen bark or buds, maybe u can make tea and have some asa! ASPRIN. BUT ASPRIN works only if not diluted beyond part per million. The point I’m making is there is a difference between being earthy and just plain stupid, or no?



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  • Every day I walk past a house which is owned and from which is run a homoeopathic peddler of woo. What is shocking about it is she had a bunch of university qualifications under her name. I thought at first that this was simple fraud. Surely no university in Australia was handing out degrees in science on the basis of homoeopathy? How wrong I was it’s legitimate.

    On the other hand compared to bottled water with massively over inflates the value of the water contained within, I image that homoeopathy is the ultimate in value adding. The economists must love it.



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  • I beg to differ, in homoeopathy the belief is that the thing that causes the problem is what you mix in the water. Having trouble sleeping dilute coffee until there are literally no caffeine molecules left then you have a sleeping formula.

    It’s even more stupid than you can imagine. Especially considering I’m drinking water that has passed through someone with every possible condition I could possibly get and yet I still get sick! And that is after evaporation, transpiration, dilution in the ocean, re-evaporation, transpiration dilution in rivers, damns and then piped to my drinking water were I receive daily doses of the stuff, why have I ever gotten sick!!!



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  • 8
    Miserablegit says:

    Said it before and will keep saying it, if you cannot ban this crap then label it with an image of a duck and teach people that this means quack medicine.



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  • Hahahaha… I like this about quack label.

    It is so sad to treat homeopathy and homeopathic treatments as medicine in the first place. I have always considered this craving for beliefs some sort of indicator how much societies are consumed by fear. I am glad that Australia’s leading health agency have showed publicly that those homeopathic preparations are useless.



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  • Good grief where did she get this degree? Make my day and tell me it was the Australian Catholic University 🙂

    EDIT: Sorry I should have just googled. University of New England. Good grief.

    Postgraduate courses: Bachelor of Health Science (Homoeopathic Medicine)
    Contact Details

    Address: School of Health, University of New England, Armidale NSW 2351
    Web: http://www.une.edu.au

    Course no longer being offered.

    http://www.australiannaturaltherapistsassociation.com.au/courses/recognised_homoeopathy.php



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  • It’s us Brits who should be getting incensed by this, because we fund it on the NHS. All this despite the fact government accepts their own study which states (like this one) that it works no better than a placebo.
    The official line is that is funded because that’s what people want.

    Really? I like beer, I find it has mood enhancing properties and promotes a feeling of well being, can I get it free on the NHS?

    The frustrating side to this is the fact that each annual salary of homeopathic doctor would fund the expensive drugs needed to treat 2 cancer sufferers for a year.

    Incidentally, homeopathic doctors funded by the NHS get the same salary as their medically qualified counter-parts.

    If you want to get a feeling for the psychology of homeopathy advocates go here. Its click bait and you’ll either be fascinated or repulsed.



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  • For the past 29 years, my family has used homeopathy for a wide variety of minor health issues that could have been more serious had we not used homeopathy, based on advice with regard to proper remedy and potency, from our family homeopath. This use has saved us from costly trips to the ER and our health care insurer a lot of money.

    In addition, there are many references to cost savings on the internet, such as the following:

    The use of homeopathy within the NHS can represent a well needed cost savings to taxpayers. In an article in the BMJ 2009; 338:b2333, Dr. Andrew Demetriou of the NHS stated that in his practice of 3500 patients with the use of homeopathy he was able to prove a reduction of 113,000 pounds out of a prescribing budget of 530,000 pounds which represented a cost savings to the NHS of twenty-one per cent in just one year.

    “This significant and considerable saving to the NHS therefore funds the Homeopathic hospitals as several hundred of my GP/Homeopath Colleagues practice Integrated/Holistic care.”



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  • Sandra Mar 14, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    The use of homeopathy within the NHS can represent a well needed cost savings to taxpayers. In an article in the BMJ 2009; 338:b2333, Dr. Andrew Demetriou of the NHS stated that in his practice of 3500 patients with the use of homeopathy he was able to prove a reduction of 113,000 pounds out of a prescribing budget of 530,000 pounds which represented a cost savings to the NHS of twenty-one per cent in just one year.

    Or you could save the NHS money by just having a chat for some advice on a medical helpline, and a have drink of water or a couple of sugar lumps!

    A placebo is a placebo!



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  • Depressing eh?

    http://www.csu.edu.au/courses/bachelor-of-health-science-complementary-medicine#1lSPOu5zIjXJ6gIy.97

    and many others. This is what happens when you de-regulate universities to the point that their only point is making as much money as they can. Pretty soon university education will mean nothing. I was surprised to find that Chiropractors need to be registered to practice in this country also. This implies some sort of standard of practice and can. Based on what evidence I ask.



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  • Ginger is a traditional medicine for nausea. What do you call it — “alternative medicine”.
    Let’s say someone does some studies proving that ginger is indeed effective. Now what do you call it — “mainstream medicine”. Many alternative medicines are simply unproven medicines. There is no percentage in proving them because they cannot be patented.

    It would be crazy to ban ginger simply because it is not economic to test it. We should not try to bury the fact it works. I wasted so much time with ineffective chemicals to control nausea. Banning homeopathic cons is one thing. Banning ginger, or selling it as a medicine, is quite another.



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  • For the past 29 years, my family has used homeopathy

    In other words, you did nothing for minor ailments (other than a little water) same as me, and we both got the same result. The body is quite good at healing itself of minor problems.

    Your tap water has more medicinal ingredients than the remedy. Why would not tap water cure you?



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  • That is NOT what the article said. Paraphrasing isn’t good journalism. The research behind the study was even worse. Australia is being dragged back into the dark ages with this kind of shoddy work. Homeopathy not only works well, but would save taxpayers enormous amounts of money, and save them from side effects of pharma drugs. Sad that the pharmaceutical industry has such a stranglehold on the country. Other countries have taken the lead, and will show the way.



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  • Your statement, “The research behind the study was even worse”, is a curious one. Can you please detail some of the issues you have with the research methods used in any of the 176 studies.



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  • Nancy’s post in support of homeopathy is an example of a style of thinking by homo sapiens that is ingrained and common across the world. What is it about the human brain that it can come to such irrational conclusions, so often on so many subjects. We all come out of the womb equal. We could all end up as rational evidenced based decision makers but only a few ever qualify for that epithet. So is there some evolutionary defect in our wiring, or is Nancy’s attitude solely due to poor education and upbringing. Is this inability to think rationally nature or nurture or a percentage from both camps.

    If our brains all have a common design fault that causes so many Homo Sapiens to be irrational, maybe there should be a class action law suite against the Discovery Institute, god’s intelligent design defenders on earth and throw in god himself. Sue them for negligence in design. Sue them for poor workmanship.

    Nancy. I endorse Adrian’s comment. If you are going to claim that Australia is being dragged back into the dark ages with this kind of shoddy work. then you must do more than just make the claim, you must support your post with rebuttal evidence. That evidence should be published peer reviewed investigations of high integrity, not what someone claims on a web page.



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  • The problem with you argument is that I can go to the supermarket and buy ginger myself, we know it is not going to poison me, there is no-one trying to ply me with ginger pills telling me they will cure cancer or making other spurious claims. On the other hand many natural remedies actually can cause harm along with benefits. Grapefruit juice for example contains Naringin. Now Naringin has many benefits backed up by proper medical studies. It seems to help with cholesterol and may even help with some cancer treatments. However the mechanism by which it works also causes other medications you may be taking to not be absorbed or absorbed at different rates. It is important therefore that you be careful drinking grapefruit juice when on certain medications, and every well educated half competent doctor should caution patents on certain medications to avoid grapefruit juice. Now I am not about to suggest that Grapefruit juice be banned. However if some quack comes along and begins telling people with say cancer that they can cure it by eating copious amounts of grapefruit may well kill them or result in life saving drugs from not working.

    Once that quack takes a single cent off a person on the grounds that they have special knowledge about the benefits of whatever remedy without taking the full knowledge of available or does so without any understanding then they are charging for the mantle of expert and should thus be held to as full account as any doctor is. If said quack starts making them into pills and distributing them willy nilly without full explanation of all the potential side effects then at best they are committing fraud at worst manslaughter. What is more who has studied and paid for the testing that has been done on natural remedies? I’ll bet you it has not been funded to any great degree by the alternative medicine industry. I know this because you will have a hard time finding a single treatment that they have banned or conceded does not work.

    If you or anyone else wants to take whatever you want based on what you have read online or wish to be a gunnie pig and experiment that’s fine that is your risk, trying to get someone else to pay for your hunch is another thing entirely.



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  • Nancy Mar 15, 2015 at 12:21 am

    That is NOT what the article said. Paraphrasing isn’t good journalism. The research behind the study was even worse. Australia is being dragged back into the dark ages with this kind of shoddy work.

    It is a well known unsupported assertion from pseudo-scientists and quacks, that the work of real scientists is “shoddy” or “unreliable”. The Global-Warming deniers, Young Earth Creationists, and the Flat Earthists have been at at for years.
    However, When real scientists look at these quack claims, they find they are pure semantics and rhetoric with a bit of failed high-school attempts at science thrown in.

    Australia is being dragged back into the dark ages with this kind of shoddy work. Homeopathy not only works well,

    Homeopathy has been found to be nothing more than a placebo on every scientific study conducted on it. Placebos can work on minor ailments where the attitude of the patient has an effect, but they are no substitute for tested medicines with proved effectiveness on known diseases.

    but would save taxpayers enormous amounts of money, and save them from side effects of pharma drugs.

    .. and prolong the illness, or kill, those who actually needed pharmaceutical treatment – with longer and more expensive treatment need later, as the patient’s condition deteriorated.



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  • No, homeopathy Does Not Work at all!! The article explained that a meta-study of more than 170 studies found it does not work! It never works for any illness. Maybe you are confusing it with herbal remedies that maybe help with minor ailments such as indigestion.



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  • mr_DNA Mar 14, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    The official line is that is funded because that’s what people want.

    Really? I like beer, I find it has mood enhancing properties and promotes a feeling of well being, can I get it free on the NHS?

    Ah! That takes us to some of the origins of names such as “medicine”!

    There was an ancient remedy for sobriety and other conditions in monks!

    Metheglin: Metheglin is traditional mead with herbs and/or spices added. Some of the most common metheglins are ginger, tea, orange peel, nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, cloves or vanilla. Its name indicates that many metheglins were originally employed as folk medicines. The Welsh word for mead is medd, and the word “metheglin” derives from meddyglyn, a compound of meddyg, “healing” + llyn, “liquor“.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mead



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  • Well said. I would say the particular fallacy that Nancy has fallenfor which we are vulnerable to is Post hoc ergo propter hoc following regression to the norm. The problem is this builds up an unwarranted trust that can have tragic consequences for people when they must have proven treatment or suffer serious consequences.
    Very funny sketch about this here



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  • WARNING!
    THE REMEDIES THAT HOMEOPATHIC PRACTITIONERS
    MIX FROM PLANT AND ANIMAL TISSUES DO NOT WORK
    FOR TREATING ANY MEDICAL CONDITION!

    I got to perusing the bottles of homeopathic “medicines” lined up like a row of ducks in the photo and
    laughed aloud (LOL’d?) at Miserablegit’s priceless suggestion for a “Duck Logo” label. Why not require the above warning to be printed in large bold type spaced on center so that it covers 2/3 of the label from the top down? The bottom third of the label could contain fine print for specific “product” information.

    Better still, also require the warning to be printed in large bold header format at the top of every page in all documents, including emails, pertinent to homeopathic practice; and on pamphlets, advertisements, or information otherwise presented to the public.

    Nothing works like in-your-face repetition!



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