Companies claiming that homeopathy — an approach to medical treatment which has zero scientific credibility — is an acceptable alternative to vaccination put us all at risk. The Federal Court agrees, having found that claims made by an outfit known as Homeopathy Plus! are in violation of Australian consumer law.
Vaccine picture from Shutterstock
Consumer regulator the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took Homeopathy Plus! to court in April last year, objecting to claims on its web site that whooping cough vaccinations were ineffective and that homeopathy was an effective alternative treatment. The court has agreed, as the ACCC announcement explains:
The Court found that Homeopathy Plus! and Ms Sheffield engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations by publishing statements on the Homeopathy Plus website to the effect that:
- the whooping cough vaccine is short lived, unreliable and no longer effective;
- the vaccine may not be the best solution for, of limited effect, and is unreliable at best in protecting against whooping cough; and
- the vaccine is largely ineffective in protecting against whooping cough,
when in fact the whooping cough vaccine is effective in protecting a significant majority of people from contracting whooping cough.
Any penalties or injunctions will be decided by the court in February. In a society which often seems wilfully anti-science, this is a welcome development; deceiving people into believing homeopathy is effective is not helpful.