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Old 24th September 2009, 09:32 PM   #1
lionking
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Complaint to Australia's Therapeutic Drugs Administration over homeopathy

A formal complaint has gone to Australia's TGA over claims of a prominent homeopathy company:

Quote:
Dr Ken Harvey, a physician with La Trobe University's school of public health, has complained to the Therapeutic Goods Administration's complaints panel about a group called Homeopathy Plus! for allegedly promoting immunisations for a range of diseases when there is no scientific evidence to back it up.

The group claims on its website that its immunisations are safe and provide the same protection as vaccines, without any of the ''adverse side effects associated with vaccines''.

According to the TGA:

Quote:
A spokeswoman for the TGA said it would follow up the complaint and took such reports ''very seriously''.
Hmmmm, not sure about the "very seriously" part. Have they been living under a rock?

Anyway, I'll post the outcome.
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Old 25th September 2009, 12:54 AM   #2
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Source for that: http://www.smh.com.au/national/homeo...0924-g4sc.html

Dr. Harvey doesn't seem sure about the "very seriously" bit either: "But Dr Harvey said he was not confident the TGA would take any meaningful action."
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Old 25th September 2009, 01:15 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
Source for that: http://www.smh.com.au/national/homeo...0924-g4sc.html

Dr. Harvey doesn't seem sure about the "very seriously" bit either: "But Dr Harvey said he was not confident the TGA would take any meaningful action."
Sorry, I meant to add the link. Thanks for doing so.
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Old 25th September 2009, 06:47 AM   #4
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Here are the imunisation claims by Homeopath Plus
http://homeopathyplus.com.au/hplus/i...unisation.html


I think that these paras,
  • Homeopathic immunisation had a 90.4% efficacy against epidemic childhood diseases - a rate similar to or better than that of conventional vaccines.
  • In contrast to vaccines, homeopathic immunisation was non-toxic and safe.
Could well be in contravention of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code 2007.(PDF)

Quote:
Homeopathic immunisation had a 90.4% efficacy against epidemic childhood diseases - a rate similar to or better than that of conventional vaccines.
(arguably)
General Principles
(2) An advertisement for therapeutic goods must not:
(b) be likely to lead to consumers self-diagnosing or inappropriately treating potentially serious diseases;
Quote:
In contrast to vaccines, homeopathic immunisation was non-toxic and safe.

General Principles
(2) An advertisement for therapeutic goods must not:
(i) contain any claim, statement or implication that the goods are safe or that their use cannot cause harm or that they have no side-effects; or
...
Comparative Advertising
Comparative advertisements must be balanced and must not be misleading or likely to be misleading, either about the therapeutic goods advertised or the therapeutic goods, or classes of therapeutic goods, with which it is compared. Points of comparison should be factual and reflect the body of scientific evidence. Comparisons should not imply that the therapeutic goods, or classes of therapeutic goods, with which comparison is made, are harmful or ineffectual.
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Old 25th September 2009, 02:05 PM   #5
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OK, does the rest of the world have any similar legislation? If so how about lodging a complaint? That way homeopathy will never recover.
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Old 25th September 2009, 02:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
A formal complaint has gone to Australia's TGA over claims of a prominent homeopathy company:




According to the TGA:



Hmmmm, not sure about the "very seriously" part. Have they been living under a rock?

Anyway, I'll post the outcome.
They have homeopathy vaccines?
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Old 25th September 2009, 02:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
OK, does the rest of the world have any similar legislation? If so how about lodging a complaint? That way homeopathy will never recover.
In the US, you have to prove harm in order to get the FDA to restrict or ban a product. And the 22nd catch is, the harm resulting from encouraging omission of a better option doesn't count.

Certainly they couldn't claim an h. vaccine worked, however.
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Old 25th September 2009, 10:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
They have homeopathy vaccines?
Yep they do. Nevermind that homeopathic vaccines have no foundation even in homeopathy. They clearly violate the basic principles of homeopathy.
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Old 25th September 2009, 10:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
In the US, you have to prove harm in order to get the FDA to restrict or ban a product. And the 22nd catch is, the harm resulting from encouraging omission of a better option doesn't count.

Certainly they couldn't claim an h. vaccine worked, however.
False advertising is a big no-no at the FTC... Do we really care what governmental body ban homeopathic products?
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Old 25th September 2009, 11:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by laca View Post
False advertising is a big no-no at the FTC... Do we really care what governmental body ban homeopathic products?
False advertising is in the eye of the beholder. Watch some of the infomercials any night (or early morning) of the week in the US and tell me false advertising is really banned. I'd be satisfied with real truth in advertising laws and no bans, but what we have is a far cry from that.
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Old 25th September 2009, 11:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
A formal complaint has gone to Australia's TGA over claims of a prominent homeopathy company...


...Anyway, I'll post the outcome.
Please do, lionking, and thank for posting this up.
This sounds like it could be interesting.
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Old 26th September 2009, 01:09 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
False advertising is in the eye of the beholder.
Actually, no, it's not. Especially for scientifically testable claims like, let's say, medical claims.

Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
Watch some of the infomercials any night (or early morning) of the week in the US and tell me false advertising is really banned. I'd be satisfied with real truth in advertising laws and no bans, but what we have is a far cry from that.
I'm not in the US (sorry if that we was misleading), but I believe you. But that doesn't prove that they could not be banned if properly reported and followed through.
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Old 26th September 2009, 02:04 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
They have homeopathy vaccines?

They call them "nosodes".
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Old 26th September 2009, 09:35 AM   #14
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I think "nosode" is the term for the tincture - the active ingredient based on the condition being vaccinated against and which no longer exists in the final product anyway.

"Homeoprophylaxis" is the another term for homeopathic vaccination.



Here's something the TGA wrote back in 2002...

Quote:
Homoeopathic meningococcal "vaccines"

9 September 2002

With the recent community concerns around the prevention of meningococcal disease, the TGA is concerned that any promotion or use of these products as a preventative measure against meningococcal disease is entirely inappropriate.

Indeed, such use may be hazardous to the extent that patients who take them believing they will work as a prevention against infection may be putting themselves at serious risk. The Australian Immunisation Handbook produced by the National Health and Medical Research Council specifically states:

Homoeopathic 'immunisation' has not been proven to give protection against infectious diseases; only conventional immunisation provides a measurable immune response. The Council of the Faculty of the Homoeopathy, London, issued a statement in 1993 which reads: "The Faculty of the Homoeopathy, London, strongly supports the conventional vaccination program and has stated that vaccination should be carried out in the normal way, using the conventional tested and proved vaccines, in the absence of medical contraindications." The Executive Director of the Australian Natural Therapies Association has stated that no properly qualified natural therapist would recommend homoeopathic 'immunisation' as an alternative to conventional immunisation.

The TGA is currently working with the States and Territories to prevent further promotion or use of these products as alternatives to conventional immunisation.

(source)

Looks like someone's going to get a slap on the wrist and told to withdraw their ads. I imagine they're scared about that.

Look here for a list of complaints, many by Dr Harvey, and see just how seriously the TGA takes these often-dangerous claims.

Last edited by AndyD; 26th September 2009 at 09:44 AM. Reason: looked it up and fixed it a bit
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Old 26th September 2009, 09:52 AM   #15
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As noted by EHocking above, the website in question states that a Swinburne University study showed homeopathy to be more effective than vaccines.

At the bottom of the page it says the research can be found at the Do No Harm website.

So, what do we find on the research page at Do No Harm? Take a look for yourself...

http://www.d-n-h.org/recent_research.html


Does anyone know anything about the Swinburne study? Link?

ETA, it's discussed here (it's our old friend Isaac Golden) and cited as:
Golden, I. (2004) Homoeoprophylaxis - A Fifteen Year Clinical Study (A Statistical Review of the Efficacy and Safety of Long-Term Homoeoprophylaxis), Daylesford: Aurum Pty Ltd.

Golden's thesis appears to form the basis of the research. I've never read a paper before but as best I can tell, he surveyed people who use his homeopathic system and formed an opinion, based on their responses, on how it compares with other things (Is that like asking Holden drivers if Holdens are better than Fords?). There's a discussion of it in the comments at Bad Science (2007)

Last edited by AndyD; 26th September 2009 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 26th September 2009, 02:59 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by laca View Post
Actually, no, it's not. Especially for scientifically testable claims like, let's say, medical claims.



I'm not in the US (sorry if that we was misleading), but I believe you. But that doesn't prove that they could not be banned if properly reported and followed through.
Apparently you don't know much about getting around the FTC and FDA rules here.

"Listerine kills germs". "Airborne was invented by a school teacher who was constantly exposed to infections" "Lysol kills germs" "Headon, apply directly to the forehead" "The cures 'they' don't want you to know about"...And so on.

As long as the advertisers don't get more specific, or don't complete the sentence because they know the consumer will believe the implied claim, these claims meet FTC law.
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Old 26th September 2009, 10:23 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by skeptigirl View Post
Apparently you don't know much about getting around the FTC and FDA rules here.

"Listerine kills germs". "Airborne was invented by a school teacher who was constantly exposed to infections" "Lysol kills germs" "Headon, apply directly to the forehead" "The cures 'they' don't want you to know about"...And so on.

As long as the advertisers don't get more specific, or don't complete the sentence because they know the consumer will believe the implied claim, these claims meet FTC law.
Thanks for the info.
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Old 29th September 2009, 08:28 PM   #18
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Huzzah!!
At long last!! A victory for science and reason, and a nice legal precedent to boot. Peddlers of woo beware. You might end up sharing a cell with Bubba.
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Old 29th September 2009, 09:50 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Marius vanderLubbe View Post
Huzzah!!
At long last!! A victory for science and reason, and a nice legal precedent to boot. Peddlers of woo beware. You might end up sharing a cell with Bubba.
There's a rather long thread on this you may want to check out.
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Old 29th September 2009, 10:48 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
At the bottom of the page it says the research can be found at the Do No Harm website.

So, what do we find on the research page at Do No Harm? Take a look for yourself...

http://www.d-n-h.org/recent_research.html
Quote:
Coming Soon!

How very homoeopathic.

First: do no harm.
Second: ?
Third: profit!
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Old 30th September 2009, 12:55 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
There's a rather long thread on this you may want to check out.
Cheers. Any chance of a link?
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Old 30th September 2009, 01:27 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Marius vanderLubbe View Post
Cheers. Any chance of a link?
(Ed) Death by homeopathy (Gloria Thomas - eczema death)

Edit. In answer to lionking below. I had problems finding it, as it was in an unexpected sub forum. Found via tags. The question was almost inevitable.

Last edited by rjh01; 30th September 2009 at 02:34 AM. Reason: Fix link
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Old 30th September 2009, 01:28 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Marius vanderLubbe View Post
Cheers. Any chance of a link?
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=141923
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Old 30th September 2009, 01:35 AM   #24
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Thanks guys. I was being lazy.
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