In July 2016 the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint against the Christchurch Homeopathy Centre for unsubstantiated therapeutic claims.1 HCC declined to even participate in the self-regulatory process issuing a one line response “No thank you, I don’t wish to respond”. The ASA noted that this was the 22nd complaint upheld against homeopathic therapeutic claims since 2011.
The New Zealand Homeopathic Society advertises on their website the books “Vaccine Free Prevention & Treatment with Homeopathy”, “Vaccination and Homeoprophylaxis” and “Raising a Vaccine Free Child”. The New Zealand Council of Homeopaths has an entire section of their website devoted to “Homeopaths Answer to the Avian Flu”.
The website for homeopath Dr Wendy Rose Isbell in Christchurch claims “Well-chosen homeopathic remedies prescribed by trained practitioners can successfully treat infectious diseases even when there are no other alternatives”.
The website for Flavell Homeopathy claims that conventional vaccinations are administered by “injecting toxins directly into the bloodstream” whereas homeopathic vaccination uses “potentised nosodes”.
The Canadian Paediatric Society review in 2015 states:
“There is scant evidence in the medical literature for either the efficacy or safety of nosodes, which have not been well studied for the prevention of any infectious disease in humans”.2
In October 2015 the Federal Court of Australia issued a judgment in the case of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) vs Homeopathy Plus! Australia PTY Limited regarding an article entitled “Whooping Cough—Homeopathic Prevention and Treatment.” The Federal Court found that:3
“There is no reasonable basis, in the sense of an adequate foundation, in medical science…to state that Homeopathic Treatments are safe and effective as an alternative to the Vaccine for the prevention of whooping cough”.
The Court imposed a fine of AUD 138,000.
At a time when global pandemics of infectious diseases such as Zika virus and Ebola virus seem more frequent and virulent, it is time for New Zealand to re-examine the effectiveness of its self-regulatory approach to therapeutic claims such as those made for homeoprophylaxis. Well before the 22nd upheld complaint by the ASA there must be the provision to impose significant fines that ‘hurt’. The situation has gone beyond freedom of choice to one of societal harm through misleading, deceptive and unsubstantiated claims.