Friday, 14 December 2018

Non-compliant Society of Homeopaths members

A previous post discussed the condition placed on the reaccreditation of the Society of Homeopaths (SoH) by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) regarding CEASE therapy.

In short, the SoH has until 31/12/2018 to ensure that members' websites comply with the (weaselly worded) SoH position statements on CEASE therapy, vaccination and homeoprophylaxis.

SoH Position Statements
This is reproduced in full.
Homeopathic prophylaxis
The Society of Homeopaths has a clear policy on ‘homeoprophylaxis’ – it does not endorse the use of homeopathic medicines as an alternative to vaccination for the prevention of serious infectious diseases. 
The Society recommends that members of the public seek the advice of their GP, and/or relevant Department of Health guidelines, concerning vaccination and protection against disease whilst travelling. 
Currently there is no homeopathic alternative to vaccination or anti-malarial drugs which has been proven beyond doubt to be clinically effective. It is therefore unethical for a homeopath to advise a patient against the use of conventional vaccines or anti-malarial drugs. 
The Society acknowledges that homeoprophylaxis is a controversial area of homeopathy which differs significantly from usual homeopathic practice and that the current level of scientific evidence on homeoprophylaxis (including historical clinical experience and contemporary research) is insufficient to make definitive claims of efficacy or effectiveness. 
There is sufficient research evidence to suggest that homeoprophylaxis may be effective in certain circumstances and the Society therefore supports further rigorous, ethical research to its use. 
The Society supports informed decision making in regard to vaccination. We recommend that patients seek advice from their GP, as well as organisations that specialise in providing information about this complex issue, so they can make an informed choice for themselves and their children. 
The Society of Homeopaths appreciates that its registered members use different methodologies and adjunctive approaches and embraces diversity within the homeopathic community. We consider diversity to be healthy and appropriate to the demands of an informed public. 
CEASE is a therapy designed by Dr Tinus Smits in the Netherlands. A number of Society members have been trained in CEASE and make reference to it in their marketing. While this is acceptable, members should be aware the title, meaning ‘Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression’ is misleading. RSHoms must not suggest that they are capable of a complete cure of autism as this would be unethical and in breach of the Code of Ethics. 
The Society does not endorse any aspects of CEASE therapy contrary to NHS guidance and nor should RSHoms, in particular on vaccination, homeopathic prophylaxis, and the use of dietary supplements. It is beyond standard homeopathic practice to provide advice on the use of supplements and therefore any guidance given should be in line with the NHS Guidelines
As previously discussed, this falls far short of the position that a professional organisation with a commitment to public health and safeguarding would take.

List of non-compliant members
This list is of SoH members who have CEASE therapy or the related Homeopathic Detox Therapy (HDT). Whilst there may be other members who do not comply with either the homeoprophylaxis or vaccination statement, it is difficult to determine who they are.

It is likely that the SoH will attempt to take the softest position with compliance. Whether this will satisfy the PSA is another matter and if history is anything to go by, they will complain and attempt to drag things out.

This list obviously contains members who have been discussed in the past. It is worth pointing out that the SoH have been provided with versions of this list. It isn't perfect.

Explanation indicates a listing on that website. That website is likely still non-compliant with Dutch advertising regulation. It would appear that the SoH think that a listing is not a problem. This is odd. Whether the PSA will agree with them is unknown. It might be better if SoH members requested listing removal. entry - some SoH members have a more detailed entry, which suggests a great interest in touting for business.

HDT? refers to whether a practitioner is listed on this website.

CEASE Therapy Claims? Examples of where more than a passing mention is made of CEASE. The claims vary. Only one page is recorded but there could be others.

Links to The ASA ruling against Teddington Homeopathy makes clear that such links are not permitted and the SoH should be aware of this. So linking to the CEASE therapy website is bad but having it link to an SoH member website is OK? The potential effect on consumer thinking is the same - they will have been exposed to "vaccines cause autism" and "autism can be cured".

Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression? Use of this phrase is expressly forbidden.

Vaccination cause autism etc? Even the mere implicitation of this is forbidden. Some SoH members have a tendency to ignore the clear guidance that has been given. Nor that the SoH has shown any signs of enforcement.

So what?
Placing details of (potentially) non-compliant member into the public domain is a deliberate attempt to force the SoH to get their members to comply and if they don't, start disciplinary action.

The list will be revisited in early January 2019 to see if compliance has occurred. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Letter to UK politicians

An email has been sent to officers of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA) bringing CEASE therapy to their attention and asking them to look into why regulators have not acted. None have responded yet. It is possible that an email from a single individual is easily ignored. Hence, (some of) the text is being placed in the public domain in the hope that others will write to their MPs, local representatives and members of the House of Lords with an interest in autism. It might also be helpful if autism groups are made aware of this too.

Public reaction to CEASE therapy on social media, when its nature is explained, is overwhelmingly one of "it's child abuse!"

It's not suggested that the text be used verbatim. The text omits details of various recent developments, actions involving other jurisdictions.

A quote from the "inventor" of CEASE therapy -

... All kinds of detoxification reactions may occur. The most common are eliminative reactions with an increase of reactivity (fever). Fever should not be treated with medication, as it is a healthy reaction of the organism and not a disease! It helps greatly to overcome an acute disturbance, shortens the healing process, stimulates reactivity and avoids complications. Eliminations like diarrhea, flu, expectoration, and bad-smelling and cloudy urine should also be left alone, because they are a part of the healing process.
A case of diarrhea as a cleansing reaction
I remember an autistic child who got diarrhea during the detoxification of his vaccines. The diarrhea relieved his system so much, that his autism almost disappeared instantly. After ten days the mother started to worry and went to the family doctor because I was absent at that moment. He prescribed Immodium (Loperamide) to stop the diarrhea by paralyzing the peristaltic motions of the bowels. Almost immediately the child had a setback and became autistic as before. The diarrhea was a perfect detoxification for his bowels and brain. Neither the doctor not the mother understood this, and the medication interfered with the progress of the cure.
Chilling and obviously neglect.

CEASE therapy
  • Stands for "Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression".
  • Claims 70% of cases of autism are caused by vaccines
  • Claims autism also caused by other medicines
  • Claims it can treat and even "reverse" autism
  • Uses doses of supplements/vitamins in excess of NHS guidelines
  • Claims homeopathic medicines made from vaccines/medicines "detox" the "damage" caused by them
  • Advocates against vaccination
  • Advocates "celebrating" and not treating symptoms of potential serious conditions. They are signs of "detox".
  • Advocates against medical treatment/very anti-doctor
A detailed examination of CEASE therapy can be found here.

  • Around 170 practitioners in the UK
  • Vast majority not medically qualified, have no autism awareness, safeguarding training.
  • Many are virulently anti-vaccination
  • Some practitioners claim to have treated "hundreds" of children. The exact numbers currently at risk of neglect is unknown but it is known one practitioner is attempting to recruit 400-500 families.
  • Much of the "diagnosis" and "treatment" is done online (esp via Skype)
  • "Detox" homeopathic medicines are unlicensed medicines. Supply to/by medically unqualified practitioners offence under Human Medicines Regulations 2012
  • Marketing claims in breach of consumer protection legislation
  • Marketing claims in breach of ASA advertising regulation
  • Illegal and/or unethical trials have been conducted
Media coverage
There was a story in the Guardian and a rehashed version in the Mail. There have been similar stories in Canada.

Actions taken
  • Concerns raised with Society of Homeopaths who initially ignored. SoH is accredited by Professional Standards Agency.
  • Concerns re SoH inaction raised with PSA. PSA concerned enough to impose conditions on SoH reacreditation.
  • Concerns raised with Alliance of Registered Homeopaths. Ignored.
  • List of practitioners and claims supplied to ASA. Known ASA have engaged in some action.
  • Concerns raised with Medicines and Healthcare Product Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Have previously forbidden online listing of "detox" remedies. Have powers to prevent supply but do.
  • Concerns raised with General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) re pharmacies supplying. Breach of professional standards. No action taken.
  • Attempts made to engage with various local Trading Standards but no response.
  • Concerns raised with local safeguarding board. Unable to act as children involved unknown.
Questions need to be raised with -
  • MHRA and why they will not act on illegal supply. This may need to be raised with the relevant minister at the Department of Health and Social Care as well.
  • GPhC as to why they do not deem the pharmacies that supply "detox" medicines as being in breach of professional standards.
  • PSA on why they reaccredited the SoH and what action they intend to take if SoH can not get its members to comply with agreed actions.
It is unlikely that the Society of Homeopaths et al would respond to any enquiry.