Rachel Roberts - Chief Executive of the Homeopathic Research Institute

Rachel Roberts - Chief Executive of the Homeopathic Research Institute

Scientific literature is full of falsehoods with findings often enhanced to suit those with vested interests. There are then those research papers that are crafted specifically to achieve the desired outcomes, a good example being 'The Australian Report' published 'in 2015 by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

This internationally respected government council triggered worldwide coverage that has since influenced the policy within institutions and governments around the world with its conclusion that “…there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective”. This extraordinary claim has since its release been investigated by the Homeopathic Research Institute (HRI) and the Australian Homeopathic Association (AHA). Detailed analysis of the scientific data, alongside the release of documents through the Freedom of Information Act has revealed evidence of the NHMRC having committed serious procedural and scientific misconduct.

Homeopathic institutions are not alone in their criticisms of the NHMRC's findings - the Australasian Cochrane Centre commenting that for some conditions, “…. ‘no reliable evidence’ does not seem an accurate reflection of the body of evidence”. This complaint has been submitted to the Australian Ombudsman, the HRI making the following summary:

  • NHMRC did the review twice. They rejected the first report, despite it being undertaken by a reputable scientist who is an author of NHMRC’s own guidelines on how to conduct reviews.

  • The existence of the first report has never been disclosed to the public – it was only discovered by AHA through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

  • NHMRC said the results of their 2015 report were based on a “rigorous assessment of over 1800 studies”. In fact results were based on only 176 studies.

  • NHMRC used a method that has never been used in any other review, before or since. NHMRC decided that for trials to be ‘reliable’ they had to have at least 150 participants and reach an unusually high threshold for quality. This is despite the fact that NHMRC itself routinely conducts studies with less than 150 participants.

  • These unprecedented and arbitrary rules meant the results of 171 of the trials were completely disregarded as being ‘unreliable’ leaving only 5 trials NHMRC considered to be ‘reliable’. This explains how they could conclude that there was no ‘reliable’ evidence.

  • Professor Peter Brooks, Chair of the NHMRC committee that conducted the 2015 review, initially failed to declare that he was a member of the anti-homeopathy lobby group ‘Friends of Science in Medicine’.

  • In violation of NHMRC’s own guidelines there was not one homeopathy expert on the committee.

Watch this 8 minute clip of Rachel Roberts, Chief Executive of the HRI clearly summarising the complaint submitted to the Ombudsman. Watch it here.