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Australian NHMRC releases suppressed first report on homeopathy

28 Aug 2019

Following years of global pressure, the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has finally released its draft first report on homeopathy, The Effectiveness of Homeopathy: an overview review of secondary evidence, produced in 2012 and suppressed until now.

The approach used in the first report and conclusions made by the author differ considerably from the controversial 2015 Information Paper: Evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathv for treating health conditions and are overall more favourable to homeopathy. The report, produced for NHMRC by the University of South Australia, concludes that there is “encouraging evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathy” in five medical conditions.

Professor Anne Kelso, Chief Executive Officer of NHMRC, explains her decision to release the report by acknowledging the “considerable interest” in the suppressed first report and clarifies that, contrary to claims made in media reports and by anti-homeopathy campaigners, NHMRC’s second Homeopathy Review, published in 2015, “did not conclude that homeopathy was ineffective”.

Rachel Roberts, chief Executive of Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI), welcomes the sudden change of heart by NHMRC to release the hidden report: “For over three years NHMRC have refused to release their 2012 draft report on homeopathy, despite Freedom of Information requests and even requests by members of the Australian Senate. To see this document finally seeing the light of day is a major win for transparency and public accountability in research.”  HRI will carry out further analysis of the first report in the coming weeks, along with NHMRC’s annotations to the 293-page document.

The verdict of an Ombudsman investigation into NHMRC’s 2015 Homeopathy Review is still pending.