AVMA Homeopathy Resolution Defeated-Politics Trumps Science Yet Again

In a shock to no one, the resolution before the American Veterinary Medical Association House of Delegates acknowledging homeopathy is ineffective was defeated by a wide margin. Sources say the vote was 90% against the resolution despite the report of the AVMA’s own Council on Research which found “there is no clinical evidence to support the use of homeopathic remedies for treatment or prevention of diseases in domestic animals.

This is a purely political decision, of course, in which the AVMA places unity within the veterinary profession above the welfare of patients and the rights of clients to fully informed consent.  In other countries, the veterinary profession has been less timid and self-serving.

The British Veterinary Association policy on homeopathy reads:

The BVA cannot endorse the use of homeopathic medicines, or indeed any medicine making therapeutic claims, which have no proven efficacy.

The Australian Veterinary Association policy states:

That the Board agreed that the veterinary therapies of homeopathy and homotoxicology are considered ineffective therapies in accordance with the AVA
promotion of ineffective therapies Board resolution.

In the UK, the laws about how homeopathy can be marketed in the veterinary field dictate the label must state that is has no therapeutic indication or it cannot be sold.

Homeopathic remedies
53.—(1) A homeopathic remedy registered under these Regulations must be labelled in
accordance with this paragraph.
(2) There must be no specific therapeutic indication on the labelling or in any information
relating to it.
(3) The labelling (or labelling and package leaflet) must contain the following and no other
information—
(a) the words ‘homeopathic remedy without approved therapeutic indications for veterinary use’

As a colleague of mine eloquently put it, “Homeopathy is absolutely incompatible with our framework of science and physiology. Calling it ‘veterinary medicine,’ regardless of how you couch it in ‘alternative’ or ‘complimentary,’ is an insult to the credibility of every veterinarian in the country.”

I expect pronouncements of vindication from proponents of homeopathy to follow shortly. As we’ve seen before, advocates of pseudoscientific therapies are adept at manipulating  political systems to protect their practices and achieve the appearance of legitimacy when they cannot do so through the production of real scientific validation.

 

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20 Responses to AVMA Homeopathy Resolution Defeated-Politics Trumps Science Yet Again

  1. v.t. says:

    Disgusting. I have no other words.

  2. Art Malernee Dvm says:

    (a) the words ‘homeopathic remedy without approved therapeutic indications for veterinary use’>>>>>>

    Would also be nice if they were required to list on the homeopathic bottle there was nothing in the bottle but water.

  3. v.t. says:

    Good point, Art, and I totally agree with you!

  4. Art Malernee Dvm says:

    Good point, Art, and I totally agree with you!>>>
    The state veterinary boards have changed the laws so that they fine a vet if he is just listing the volume of his drugs in the medical record without also listing the amount of active ingredient given. Yet the state boards allow homeopathic vets to do it when the amount of active ingredient they give is zero. Why not require the homeopathic guys to list the amount of measured active ingredient so everyone can see in the medical record its zero?

  5. v.t. says:

    Since it would be negligible, with no predictable effect, you would think this would be the simplest argument to do away with homeopathy. But, taking hard-earned money from clients doesn’t seem to phase anyone. If that isn’t the definition of fraud, I don’t know what is.

  6. Diane says:

    I love both those ideas (having to list the ingredients [ingredient, really] on the bottle as “water”, and having to record the amount of active ingredient in the medical record), and to me it’s shocking that these are not already requirements. Imagine “1ml of 0mg/ml nux vomica po SID x 7 days”!

  7. Art MalerneeArtjam Dvm says:

    The homeopaths will probably argue that when a priest sends home “Holy Water” the priest is not required by law to put a label on the bottle that says it’s just tap water. But the priest is not selling holy water just giving it away.

  8. Diane says:

    You have a point. I guess it would suffice if they label it “Magic Water”.

  9. Art Malernee Dvm says:

    Some like to call Holy Water, tap water with the hell burnt out of it. 🙂 “Magic Water” works for me.

  10. Carla says:

    How old is homeopathy?
    How old is big pharma?
    They are far too young and incompetent to judge and clinging on to their have-to-grow-profits : dangerous industry !!! Has nothing to do with health !!!

  11. I am delighted with the 90% who voted against the resolution.

  12. Pingback: On CAVM Research and Plausibility | The SkeptVet Blog

  13. skeptvet says:

    No doubt. Were you also delighted by the finding of the Council on Research that “there is no clinical evidence to support the use of homeopathic remedies for treatment or prevention of diseases in domestic animals?” The HoD decision was entirely political, and the truth about any medical treatment isn’t established by popular vote but by scientific evidence.

  14. skeptvet says:

    How old is bloodletting? Ritual sacrifice? Prayer? Does age=truth, or is it perhaps possible that some old ideas are false and some new onse true? How do we know? I suspect science is better than time at distinguishing true from false. Here’s a little tidbit suggesting that maybe science works pretty well, at least better than the alternatives:

    Life Expectancy and Science

  15. Art Malernee Dvm says:

    The term “homeopathy” was coined by Hahnemann and first appeared in print in 1807.

    I’m surprised Sandra did not try to replace “science “with homeopathy on the life expectancy chart. :).

    Paul pion comment to you about the Avma on vin.com about 80% patients get better on their own 10% get better because of what you do and 10% get worse because of what you do was one I have heard before when vets get together to talk behind closed doors.

    So do the 90% who voted think the 80% of the patients we see who will get better on their own, the alternative medicine person reaches for one therapy and the conventional therapy person reaches for another intervention and the outcome is the same.

    What paul left out was selling medicine with nothing in the bottle but water is medical fraud even if 80% get better and even if 90% of vets want to call it alternative medicine rather than call it the fraud it is.
    Art Malernee Dvm
    Fla Lic 1820

  16. v.t. says:

    Art said: Paul pion comment to you about the Avma on vin.com about 80% patients get better on their own 10% get better because of what you do and 10% get worse because of what you do was one I have heard before when vets get together to talk behind closed doors.

    Well, isn’t this just a cliche? How does this even begin to give credibility to the profession, let alone those therapies we know do in fact work?

  17. Art Malernee Dvm says:

    Well, isn’t this just a cliche? How does this even begin to give credibility to the profession, let alone those therapies we know do in fact work?>>>

    I guess you must give the engineers all of the credit for clean water as the reason we live longer. I think there was a time before the FDA was created when doctors did more harm than good and I worry the governments refusal to allow physicians to kick the chiropractors out of their offices was the beginning of a reversal of good medicine in the USA. If the FDA cannot scientifically regulate doctors and doctors cannot kick the quacks out of the office the quacks end up wanting to be the ones running,teaching the profession,and calling the shots.

  18. dz says:

    Seriously, how closed minded when western medicine is killing all of us, humans and all other creatures. Has it helped, certainly, but when every commercial on tv is pushing a new drug and the next commercial is from a law office ‘if you have taken this drug..” What is that telling us about western medicine. I for one know first hand that a vaccine caused my horse to be a photic headshaker and the only thing that stopped it during her worse season was a homeopathic remedy….not Western medicine! Why is it everytime she got a shot she couldnt move her neck, and I stupidly vaccinated her every year listening to my vet when all the while I was killing her immune system and causing adrenal fatigue… People are looking for some alternative medicine that doesnt have all of the bad side effects. And unfortunately this is causing the holistic group to fall prey to alternative vets who are just looking for the lazy way to make money and dont have any education with TCM or Homeopathy.. Look at other countries that dont vaccinate like we do and their percentage of illness and autistic children is far lower than ours. Wake up America…

  19. skeptvet says:

    Or, look at the terrifying return of measles due to irrational phobia of vaccines desite the irrefutable evidence that they have nothing to do with autism. This kind of baseless fear and utter arrogance at assuming one’s own perceptions to be superior to the accumulated knowledge of the scientific community is not only obviously wrong but very dangerous.

  20. Art says:

    Here is some data on the avma’s ability to “measure “what good veterinary medicine is.

    Correlation of pre-veterinary admissions criteria, intra-professional curriculum measures, AVMA-COE professional competency scores, and the NAVLE.
    J Vet Med Educ. Spring 2014;41(1):19-26.
    James K Roush; Bonnie R Rush; Brad J White; Melinda J Wilkerson
    Article Abstract

    Data consisting of preadmission criteria scores, annual and final cumulative grade point averages (GPAs), grades from individual professional courses, American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA-COE) Competency scores, annual class rank, and North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE) scores were collected on all graduating DVM students at Kansas State University in 2009 and 2010. Associations among the collected data were compared by Pearson correlation. Pre-veterinary admissions criteria infrequently correlated with annual GPAs of Years 1-3, rarely correlated with the AVMA-COE Competencies, and never correlated with the annual GPA of Year 4. Low positive correlations occurred between the NAVLE and the Verbal Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (r=.214), Total GRE (r=.171), and the mean GPA of pre-professional science courses (SGPA) (r=.236). Annual GPAs strongly correlated with didactic course scores. Annual GPAs and final class rank strongly correlated (mean r=-.849), and both strongly correlated with the NAVLE score (NAVLE: GPAs mean r=.628, NAVLE: final class rank r=-.714). Annual GPAs at the end of Years 1-4 weakly correlated or did not correlate with the AVMA-COE Competencies. The AVMA-COE Competencies weakly correlated with scores earned in didactic courses of Years 1-3. AVMA-COE Competencies were internally consistent (mean r=.796) but only moderately correlated with performance on the NAVLE (mean r=.319). Low correlations between admissions criteria and outcomes indicate a need to reevaluate admission criteria as predictors of school success. If the NAVLE remains the primary discriminator for veterinary licensure (and the gateway to professional activity), then the AVMA-COE Competencies should be refined to better improve and reflect the NAVLE, or the NAVLE examination should change to reflect AVMA-COE Competencies.

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