Are "nosodes" a public health threat?
As Canada's vaccination rates continue to fall and outbreaks of preventable illnesses become more common, homeopathic 'nosodes' have come under increasing scrutiny. Nosodes are remedies that homeopathic practitioners use to treat diseases including measles, influenza and the whooping cough. Medical professionals in this country are worried that nosodes are being marketed as vaccine alternatives, and could be diverting people from legitimate immunization methods. Brent speaks with Dr. Lloyd Oppel, chair of the British Columbia Council on Health Promotion, who published an article in this month's BC Medical Journal accusing Health Canada of "diluting its standards" by approving nosodes.
We want to know what you think: are nosodes putting public health at risk? Leave a comment below, or tell us via Facebook or Twitter. To learn more about Bad Science Watch's campaign to 'Stop Nosodes' click here.
To read Health Canada's statement, follow the "Read More" link at the bottom of this post.
STATEMENT FROM HEALTH CANADA:
MAY 15, 2013
Homeopathic medicines are not vaccines. Health Canada has not licensed any homeopathic medicines for the purpose of providing immunity to a communicable disease. Health Canada continues to recommend immunization as the most effective way to prevent and control vaccine-preventable diseases.
Health Canada reviews natural health products (including nosodes which are a type of homeopathic medicine) for safety, quality, and efficacy.
The evidence required to support the safety and efficacy of a homeopathic medicine will vary depending on which category the homeopathic medicine falls into (specific or non-specific recommended use or purpose). Health Canada recognizes different levels of evidence, ranging from traditional use to randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials. Sufficient evidence must be provided to demonstrate a clear rationale for the inclusion of each medicinal ingredient in the homeopathic medicine. For a homeopathic medicine with a specific recommended use or purpose (claim), evidence must link each medicinal ingredient to the symptom(s) of the claim it is intended to address.
Nosodes have been approved with the following claim: "homeopathic preparation to be used with the advice of a health care practitioner." There is also one product that can claim "to be used in relation to symptoms following vaccination."
Please note that the practice of homeopathic medicine falls under provincial jurisdiction.
Health Canada is committed to verifying complaints regarding the quality or safety of health products. When the Department identifies, or is notified of a product that could pose a risk to health on the Canadian market, the Department will take appropriate action to help protect the health and safety of Canadians. Health Canada encourages Canadians to contact the department if there are any concerns with health products using the following guide: