Homeopathic vaccine regulation
Doctors are warning people not to trust homeopathic vaccines in light of the recent rise in whooping cough cases.
La Trobe University Public Health expert Dr Ken Harvey says that homeopathic vaccinations are ineffective and potentially dangerous and health authorities have failed to stop the advertising and sale of these products.
‘There is no good scientific evidence that homeopathic immunisation works. There are reports in journals of homeopathy (that have been discredited) and there are anecdotal reports by homeopaths, but the plural of anecdote is not evidence’ says Dr Harvey.
Despite two years of reviews into the shortcomings of its regulatory processes and the release, late last year of the government’s blueprint for reform, the Complaint Resolution Panel (CRP) still lacks the power to enforce compliance with the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code.
In addition, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is impotent because homeopathic vaccines (30C) are exempted from Therapeutic Goods Act 1989. Ironically, homeopathic vaccines are not considered therapeutic goods because they lack any active ingredient!
In theory, the TGA could refer advertising non‐compliance to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions but in practice they have never done so because the penalties available are so low (a maximum of $6600 for individuals and $33 000 for corporations) that it is seen as not in the public interest to proceed.
Dr Harvey says the CRP and/or the TGA need timely and easily applied civil penalties (substantial fines and enforceable undertakings) to deter non-compliance with Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code.
The promotion and sale of homeopathic vaccines for the current whooping cough epidemic highlights the longstanding need for regulatory reform.
The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases (NCIRS) has "Homeopathy and Vaccination" fact sheet for more information: http://ncirs.edu.au/immunisation/fact-sheets/homeopathy-vaccination-fact-sheet.pdf
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
La Trobe University Communications Officer
T: 03 9479 5353 M: 0418 495 941 E: M.Lodwick@latrobe.edu.au