You are here

A Message from the Australian Homeopathic Association (AHA)

December 11, 2015
"As you are all no doubt aware, the homoeopathic profession is in the aftermath of the release of the findings of the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) 'Homeopathy Review', released on March 11, 2015.  NHMRC concluded, “Based on the assessment of the evidence of effectiveness of homeopathy, NHMRC concludes that there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.”
The NHMRC’s finding is damaging to the profession and is having repercussions both in Australia and internationally.  It is, in fact, a defining moment in Australian homoeopathy, with much at stake.  Within the homoeopathic community, the NHMRC review has elicited feelings of shock, anger, disempowerment and fear around what it means for the future of homoeopathy in Australia.
AHA members and supporters have probably been wondering what action the AHA is taking to counter the NHMRC report and whether anything is happening at all.  Previous AHA Bulletins have alluded to action AHA has been undertaking, without giving specific details.  Until now the AHA has been circumspect with regards to publicizing its actions so as to not jeopardize the viability of its campaign. 
AHA, in collaboration with Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA), has been engaged in an active, formal process of making NHMRC accountable for its flawed 'Review', which was underpinned by unacceptable bias and conflict of interest.  The CMA/ AHA investigation has revealed a number of critical (previously unknown) procedural and methodological irregularities that invalidate the 'Review’s' findings.  Some of these are of a very disturbing nature, for example the undisclosed fact that a Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM) member was appointed as the initial chair of the 'Homeopathy Working Committee' in 2012, concomitant to the NHMRC CEO being personally warned of FSM’s lobbying of NHMRC reviewers to its anti-CM agenda.
Such factors, amongst many others, bode well for having the 'Review' and its findings permanently set aside, which is AHA/ CMA’s goal.
After a lead-up investigation period, in August 2015 CMA provided NHMRC with a dossier outlining critical methodological flaws, procedural irregularities, bias and conflicts of interest associated with the 'Review'.  This successfully brought NHRMC to the negotiating table on September 17, 2015, under threat of further follow up action underpinned by legal support.  At the meeting, attended by representatives from the AHA, CMA and their legal representation, NHMRC agreed to undertake a formal internal review of its processes and consider a detailed (61-page) submission prepared by CMA/ AHA detailing these irregularities.  NHMRC is currently undertaking this internal review.
AHA appreciates members’ and supporters' patience in this matter.  Now that a formal complaints process has been initiated via NHMRC, AHA is more able to keep everyone informed of progress with this situation as it develops.
To this end National Council has set up a Sponsorship Program to financially support our legal costs in the ongoing process outlined above.  Any contribution you can make to this fund will directly support these ongoing activities and will make a real difference. For more information please visit the website."
Martin Costigan
President, Australian Homeopathic Association