NHMRC homeopathy report – The Australian Report

NHMRC homeopathy report – The Australian Report

In 2012, a very positive report showing the efficacy of homeopathy entitled  ‘A Systematic Review of the Evidence on the Effectiveness of Homeopathy’ [1] was conducted by a highly respected and experienced reviewer, a principal author of NHMRC’s own guidelines on how to review health evidence. Good quality research evidence on homeopathy is known to exist in several medical conditions (e.g. upper respiratory tract infections, sinusitis, cough, hay fever, children with diarrhoea, lower back pain) and over 1800 scientific research documents were submitted. 

Freedom of Information (FOI) documents reveal that the reviewer submitted a completed report for consideration on time to NHMRC at the start of August 2012 [2]. However, the Office of NHMRC abruptly terminated sacked the contractor within days of receiving it. This first review and its costs were buried and hidden from the Australian public. 

Immediately, a new chairman was appointed, Prof Peter Brooks, a supporter of the anti-homeopathy advocacy group Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM), whose conflict of interest was ignored by NHMRC [3].  In 2015 a severely flawed and biased report was released declaring there is ‘no reliable evidence’ for homoeopathy.

Out of the initial 1800 studies that had met the government’s guidelines for scientific consideration, over 1600 were REJECTED on a basis that has never been used in any other review, before or since.  More unprecedented and arbitrary rules were then applied so to reduce the number to  only 5 trials NHMRC considered to be ‘reliable’. As they assessed all 5 of these trials as negative, this explains how NHMRC could conclude that there was no ‘reliable’ evidence.

This report, widely cited as ‘The Australian Report’ has been making it’s way across the internet and around the world ever since, propagating false information about homeopathy, as used as an excuse to limit the freedom of people to choose a complementary or alternative method of treatment.

…Despite the fact that a proper review of that research revealed that was fundamentally flawed due to conflict of interest, bias, selective research, flawed evidence, procedural irregularities and more.

In addition to releasing this flawed report, the 1st report had been buried by the NHMRC.

As a government research institute, the NHMRC is accountable to Australian taxpayers on the grounds of procedural irregularities, bias, conflict of interest, misfeasance and anywhere they are found to not be treating evidence fairly, objectively or in instances of misleading the public.  According to the Homeopathy Research Institute, “An initial assessment found the complaint to be of sufficient merit to warrant a full investigation into NHMRC’s conduct. Over the intervening months, this process has involved ongoing input from both parties as NHMRC answers charges of bias, conflict of interest and scientific misconduct.”

The 4Homeopathy group in the United Kingdom have begun a campaign and a petition calling for the release of this first report, and they need your help to join the growing number of people worldwide for the release of this first report.

Sign the petition to show your support for releasing the first report: https://releasethefirstreport.com/

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[1] Feedback from HWC member to ONHMRC re. first reviewer’s draft report on the assessment of the evidence on homeopathy, 15 July 2012. NHMRC FOI 2014/15 021-09
[2] International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, UniSA, homeopathy review search strategy, April 2012. NHMRC FOI 2014/15 021-05

[3] Email correspondence between NHMRC CEO & Office of NHMRC re. Prof Brooks’ conflict on the HWC, 10 May 2012. NHMRC FOI 2014/15 021-02

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