“This is a serious research scandal of the highest degree, revealing the extent to which the review team secretly manipulated the methods well after the contractor had already collated and assessed the evidence, with none of the changes disclosed in the final report released to the public.”
These manipulations directly resulted in the findings of 171 out of the 176 included studies being retrospectively categorised as “unreliable”, meaning they were dismissed from the Review’s published findings of “no reliable evidence”. The Review’s findings were therefore based on only 5 “reliable” trials – not reported to the public.
If standard, accepted scientific methods were used, the review team would have had to report that around 50% were positive, including studies of high methodological quality. Only around 5% of the 176 studies were negative and the rest inconclusive – strikingly similar to conventional medical research findings.
“It doesn’t get more serious than this. The NHMRC has misled both the Australian public and Government, damaging the NHMRC’s high standing and the public’s trust in science and taxpayer funded institutions”.
These events occurred after the NHMRC terminated a taxpayer funded First Review in August 2012, without publicly disclosing its existence, findings or expenditure – raising further serious questions regarding research integrity and misappropriation of public funds. The Review published in 2015 was the second attempt.
AUSTRALIA’S peak medical research body, the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC), has admitted under Senate scrutiny that they did not follow recognised scientific guidelines or standards in reviewing the evidence on homeopathy, using an approach also applied to reviews of other natural therapies.
The Homeopathy Review was the first of 17 natural therapy reviews the NHMRC conducted between 2012 and 2015, used to justify removal of the Private Health Insurance rebate for these therapies, which was passed by the Senate on 11 September 2018.
The NHMRC’s response to a Senate Question on Notice posed by Senator Stirling Griff on 30 May 2018, reveals that instead of using accepted scientific methods they simply made them up along the way.
The integrity of the Homeopathy Review rests on NHMRC’s public assurance that it “used internationally accepted methods” and that it used “a rigorous approach that has been developed by Australian experts in research methods” when evaluating health evidence.
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