Breaking News delivered from Guy Chapman today. Homeopathy Plus has received a major smackdown from the Australian courts. A complaint regarding their advertisement of homeopathy as a “safer” alternative to vaccination, specifically for pertussis has been deemed misleading and deceptive.
Homeopathy Plus is the trading identity of Australian homeopath Fran Sheffield (who originated the petition to the UN to use homeopathy in the Liberian Ebola outbreak). They have previously made claims that homeopathy can treat domestic abuse behavior.
The complaint has taken two years to work through channels. In 2012, a consumer watchdog group blasted the same claims. See Steve Novella discuss homeopathy for whooping cough/pertussis here. In the judgment, Justice Perry is unequivocal: “there is no reasonable basis, in the sense of an adequate foundation, in medical science to enable the First Respondent and the Second Respondent to state that Homeopathic Treatments are safe and effective as an alternative to the Vaccine for the Prevention of Whooping Cough.”
The core of the finding is as follows:
The First Respondent and the Second Respondent have in trade or commerce:
a.) engaged in conduct that was misleading and deceptive or was likely to mislead and deceive, in contravention of section 18 of the ACL;
b.) in connection with the supply or possible supply of Homeopathic Treatments, and in connection with the promotion of the supply of Homeopathic Treatments, made false or misleading representations that the Homeopathic Treatments are of a particular standard or quality in contravention of section 29(1)(a) and (b) of the ACL; and
c.) in connection with the supply or possible supply of Homeopathic Treatments, and in connection with the promotion of the supply of Homeopathic Treatments, made false or misleading representations that Homeopathic Treatments have a use or benefit in contravention of section 29(1)(g) of the ACL.
This is a superb win for reality but as a precedent we should not treat it with unalloyed hope. As with most countries, Australia has “grandfathered” homeopathy into medical regulations and some claims are legally permitted. However, it is clear from this that claims for “homeoprophylaxis” and almost certainly also for the treatment of serious disease, will be viewed dimly by the Courts.
Skeptical activism against Homeopathy Plus: