In a win for science — and common sense — a homeopathy business that told consumers the whooping cough vaccine was “unreliable at best” and “largely ineffective” has been found to have breached Australian consumer law.
Yesterday the Federal Court ruled the online business, Homeopathy Plus engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, News Limited reports.
The company had claimed on its website that the vaccine for whooping cough was ineffective, trying to connive consumers that homeopathic treatments were an effective alternative.
“We were worried if people were reading these kind of statement they would choose not to have the vaccine and rely on one of these homeopathic treatments,” the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission told News Limited.
The Homeopathy Plus! website, which claimed the whooping cough vaccine as ineffective.
“There are real public safety risks that come from that kind of statement.”
ACCC Commissioner Sarah Courts told News Limited the court heard a significant amount of medical evidence.
“They heard from three medical experts and Homeopathic Plus also called some medical evidence. But the court found that there was no credible scientific basis for the claims that Homoeopathy Plus! was making and that there is ample evidence that the whooping cough vaccine does a good job in protecting the majority of people.”
Homeopathy Plus announced the result on its Facebook page, writing: “Thank you to all who have supported us over the past 20 or so months and who wished for a different outcome.”
The matter returns to court in February where the company could face up to a $1.1 million fine.
Whooping cough is a highly contagious – and highly dangerous – respiratory illness. It is usually mild in adults, but if your baby has whooping cough it can be life threatening for them; this’s why vaccinations are so important.
Families with newborns should talk to their doctor about whooping cough vaccinations, which children usually receive at two, four and six months of age. Booster doses for parents, grandparents and other carers are also really important, and help keep kids safe.