There is a campaign being run ‘Your Health Your Choice’ (YHYC) developed by the AHA (Australian Homoeopathy Assn.). Can you tell us how this is going? What kind of response have you had so far?
In July 2017, the AHA initiated the ‘Your Health Your Choice’ campaign to bring awareness to systemic bias against natural medicine within the Federal Health bureaucracy. The NHMRC review is one of the worst examples of this systemic bias. So far we have achieved around 20,000 sign-ups; our goal is 100,000. We ask that all practitioners sign up and encourage their patients and the public to as well. There are resources on the campaign page to assist this, including an A4 poster that can be displayed in clinics (go to https://www.yourhealthyourchoice.com.au/contact/). The campaign is calling for a Senate inquiry into the NHMRC report, to support the Ombudsman process and pressure the government, letting them know that the CAM sector and consumers have had enough of this anti-CAM bias, which is gradually eroding practitioner and consumer rights.
The TGA is reviewing low risk CAM medicines. Can you give us an update on the prescribing of homeopathic medicines by practitioners?
The TGA is reviewing the regulation of ‘low risk’ complementary medicines (vitamins, minerals, homeopathic & aromatherapy products). In relation to homeopathic products, the TGA bases its preferred option to declare them ‘non therapeutic goods’ (and hence deregulate them) on the basis of the flawed NHMRC report, ignoring all other evidence and consumer and stakeholder opposition. This has implications for practitioners, since they source medicines from manufacturers whose businesses are under threat from these TGA reform proposals. It would also mean practitioners would be prescribing ‘non-therapeutic goods’ to patients, leaving them open to challenge by Skeptics, who have been actively generating vexatious complaints against CAM practitioners to State authorities. The AHA has supported many practitioners over the past year who have received complaints against them; TGA’s proposed course of action would only make the environment worse. Via the YHYC campaign, the natural medicines sector is liaising with the Health portfolio and Minister to ensure TGA listens to industry, practitioners and consumers and maintains the current regulatory status quo.
Pharmacies are being recommended to remove homoeopathic remedies … is this being acted on by pharmacy owners? Can you update us.
This is currently a recommendation of the Pharmacy Remuneration Review Interim Report. Already many pharmacy owners are dropping homeopathic product lines due to the controversy generated by the NHMRC report – which is why the Ombudsman Complaint and Your Health Your Choice campaign is so important to support. The Government does not have to accept this extreme recommendation, which is undemocratic and second-guesses the consumer. The Pharmacy Guild submission to Health regarding the Pharmacy Review is extremely scathing of the entire process and does not support any of the Review’s recommendations. Individual pharmacists stock homeopathic and other CAM products due to growing consumer demand. So the pharmacy sector is split.
Anything else ANPA members need to know regarding homoeopathy nationally or internationally?
The NHMRC report has created problems for homeopathy worldwide. Already the ‘Your Health Your Choice’ campaign and the Ombudsman Complaint process has succeeded in causing the Skeptics movement in Europe and the UK to stop referring to the NHMRC report as a credible evidence document (a big win). To achieve its goal of having the NHMRC report set aside and draw a line in the sand against further bias against the CAM sector, the campaign needs urgent financial support and ongoing signups. Donations can be made via the ‘donations’ portal on the YHYC website https://www.yourhealthyourchoice.com.au/campaigns/donate/
Another way of looking at this issue is that the NHMRC’s misconduct has in fact stimulated wider interest in homeopathy and is having the effect of putting the growing body of positive, high quality homeopathy research evidence on the map. For a homeopathy research update go to https://www.hri-research.org