NHMRC Homeopathy Review - Key facts
“If the intent is to provide general statements about the effectiveness of homeopathy, then ‘no reliable evidence’ may not adequately reflect the research. For example, when a substantial proportion of small (but good quality) studies show significant differences, […] 'no reliable evidence' does not seem an accurate reflection of the body of evidence."
An extensive, detailed investigation by the Australian Homeopathic Association (AHA) and Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA) into NHMRC’s conduct, combined with an in-depth scientific analysis of the report by the Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI), has revealed evidence of serious procedural and scientific misconduct in producing this report, as follows:
The hidden first review, April-August 2012:
'Rigorous assessment of over 1800 papers'?
Post-hoc changes to the research protocol & use of arbitrary criteria:
Study wrongly cited:
No subject/ research experts appointed to the 'expert committee':
Bias & conflicts of interest:
Expert peer reviewer advice ignored & not disclosed:
NHMRC Statement on Homeopathy - opinion, not evidence-based:
The NHMRC issued a formal Statement on Homeopathy alongside the Information Paper that states, “People who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk”.
The presence of this statement within a section called “NHMRC’s interpretation of the assessment of the evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy” misleads the public into believing that it is based on the findings of their Overview, when it is not.
The Homeopathy Review did not include any assessment of the safety of homeopathy, nor any studies comparing the relative benefits/risks of using homeopathy versus conventional medicine; in fact all safety studies submitted to NHMRC during the Review were excluded as ‘out of scope’.
This false impression is strengthened further by NHMRC repeatedly and inaccurately describing the Homeopathy Review to the public as a "Health Technology Assessment" (IP, p.5 and p.38; FAQs document, p4,p9,p11; Administrative Report, p.5-6); HTAs by definition do assess safety, but NHMRC did not conduct an HTA, it conducted an Overview. The Overview excluded from scope any consideration of customary HTA parameters, such as 'safety', 'effectiveness' (studies that assess how homeopathy works in real-world clinical settings), 'cost-effectiveness' and 'quality'.