The consumer watchdog has forced a homeopathy website to take down claims the whooping cough vaccine is dangerous.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said the assertions by the Homeopathy Plus! website, which has ignored a previous order by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to publish a retraction of the claims, were “misleading and deceptive and … could lead to serious health risks for consumers”.
In a statement, ACCC chairman Rod Sims yesterday said the “combination of claims that the vaccine was ineffective and that the homeopathic remedies listed on the page were an alternative prevention and treatment regime elevated this matter to one of extreme concern”.
Australia has recently been in the grip of a whooping cough epidemic, with more than 29,000 cases confirmed nationally each year in 2009, 2010 and 2011 – more than double the total in any previous year in the past two decades, although cases appear to be down in 2012 with 8202 recorded so far.
Tip: @skepticZone Richard Saunders on Twitter
I’ll spell this out in another way. This group was making medical claims that the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine was dangerous. It is not. It saves lives.
They also advocated homeopathic remedies as an alternative. Homeopathic solutions have no active ingredient in them. They are diluted far past the point where any of the original substance could be left; they are just water. However, we are supposed to be believe some magical property remains. Oh, and the initial ingredient wouldn’t have worked anyway. It’s all mumbo-jumbo.
No wonder the claims were called “misleading and deceptive”. WE KNOW such misinformation has caused health risks, there is an epidemic. Why? Because vaccination rates are down. Kids have died.
Fran Sheffield of Homeopathy Plus was all up in arms, saying she had taken down the information voluntarily pending a review of the content, and “it could very well go up again” once this was completed. Maybe they will change a word or two but the emphasis will be the same. The anti-vax agenda will continue to be pushed. Until then, more kids will suffer and it’s likely some will die.
Dr. Steven Novella has a piece on this topic on the JREF site.
Homeopathy is witchcraft. From a scientific point of view it is no more valid than brewing magic potions with eye of newt and lizard tails. Homeopaths, however, continue to stubbornly promote their potions as if they were real medical treatments.
Increased attention to the unscientific nature of homeopathy has caused somewhat of a backlash, but not enough to fully dislodge the entrenched interests of homeopathy. Still, it is good to hear of regulatory bodies taking their missions seriously and applying them to homeopathic fraud.
Check this out. Tell your friends how silly and dangerous homeopathy and anti-vax are.