Flawed report on Homoeopathy by NHMRC, Australia


Sir

This refers to a news item on Homoeopathy published recently in your newspaper. I write to you as a representative of LMHI, an international body which strives to preserve and promote the homoeopathic science worldwide.

I am to mention that the scientists of the research committee of LMHI have carefully studied the report on which your news was based and found that the recent statement released on 11 March 2015 by National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia is erroneous and unscientific. LMHI has prepared a press release to counter the report. I request you to publish the press release enclosed with this letter, along with a rejoinder conveying the sentiments of the homoeopathic community.


It is worthy to mention here that there is dire need to inform public that the NHMRC report is flawed in the following ways:

1. Inappropriate Methodology was adopted for review of a few selected studies on Homoeopathy, ignoring Randomised Control Trials with strongly positive results (evidence level 1 as per international standards).

2. Selective Research of limited database was carried out, with exclusion of many studies with encouraging to positive results, as well as the studies published in a language other than English. Many positive studies in favour of Homoeopathy, since they come from France or Spain, have, therefore, been ruled out.

3. Lack of Expertise was conspicuous with NHMRC not appointing a single homeopathic expert to the Review Panel, and its reviewers did not have even basic knowledge of Homoeopathy, let alone understanding the sensitivities while analysing the outcomes of research studies in Homoeopathy.

4. Weak evidence picked up for this review is another matter of concern. The review committee analysed only one set of reviews, ie, systematic reviews. In scientific terms, these reviews do not hold a high seat as per the concepts of Evidence-based science. One cannot expect a review based solely on weak evidence to lead to a reliable or strong outcome.

5. Ignoring opinion of experts who were consulted prior to publication of the report reflects the autocracy of NHMRC, breaching the standard protocol adopted for such reviews. Two out of three experts had expressed numerous concerns about the report, which seem to have been conveniently ignored.


Such flawed reports are highly misleading and negatively impact the users and professionals of Homoeopathy, who have been benefitted from Homoeopathy. It is best to investigate the viability of such a report before it is rolled out to masses. Homoeopathy is more than 200 years old science which has been effectively used for several clinical conditions, both sub-acute and chronic, ranging from respiratory, skin, gastric complaints to joint problems, psychological or behavioural problems and many childhood illnesses. Homoeopathy is safe and free from adverse drug effects or drug dependence, which is a common problem of many other kinds of treatment methods. It is increasingly becoming the most preferred system among alternative therapies.

In India, Homoeopathy has been practised since the advent of the 19th century. India produces finest quality of homoeopathic drugs and has well-qualified doctors who after a rigorous education and training of 5.5 years, are well verse with the concepts of biomedicine as well as with Homoeopathy.
These registered homoeopathic doctors, the count of which is over 300 thousand in India, are providing healthcare and benefitting the public with the gentle science of Homoeopathy. It is heartening to see how an average patient using Homoeopathy in India is able to save his money and still get cured in the most gentle and permanent manner at the same time. In fact, in India, unlike in the other developed parts of the world, where a substantial part of the budget is allocated only to health, the cost-effectiveness of Homoeopathy makes it an economically viable alternative therapy in healthcare delivery model.

Moreover, the body of evidence on Homoeopathy is building stronger by the day. Recent analyses by several international homoeopathic research bodies have provided adequate evidence that homeopathic medicines have beneficial clinical effects. Amid all this upward growth of Homoeopathy in the world, a biased and flawed review by a small group of non-homoeopaths has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Similar attempts to bring defame Homoeopathy have been made earlier, but to not much success. However, every time such a report or news is published, the users and advocates of Homeopathy feel disgusted, chiefly because of the lack of truth or evidence in such reports.

The magnitude of worldwide condemnation that has followed upon release of the NHMRC report itself explains the dubious nature of the report. The concerns and reactions of several scientific bodies representing the homoeopathic and/or the Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM) community have followed this release (URLs mentioned below).

In the best interest of the public, I again request you to publish this rejoinder to the public statement by NHMRC on Homoeopathy, along with the press release of LMHI.


Responses to the NHMRC report:

HRI response

https://www.hri-research.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/HRI-Response-to-Australian-NHMRC-Report-2014.pdf

CMA response
http://www.cmaustralia.org.au/Media-Releases/3246880

Australian Homoeopathic Association response 
http://www.homeopathyoz.org/images/news/Open_response_letter_by_AHA_to_NHMRC.pdf

British Homoeopathic Association response
http://www.britishhomeopathic.org/bha-blog/response-nhmrcs-position-statement/

LMHI response
http://www.lmhi.org/home/article/bias-and-flawed-methodology-in-the-nhmrc-report-on-homeopathy


Author: Dr. SPS Bakshi, National Vice-President for India LMHI. March 16, 2015.
Source: LMHI documentation.