What Does BREXIT mean for Australia in a Health Context

That BREXIT appeared to take everyone by surprise is an understatement, with analysts still struggling to establish a pattern or trend that gives a full meaning to this new phenomenon.
As Newton discovered “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” so if BREXIT was the “equal and opposite reaction” what was the action?
Donald Trump, the person who may become the next president of the US, was asked a question similar to this when he recently visited Scotland, just after the BREXIT vote came in.
He responded: “The British people took back control of their country. It’s a great thing.”

Frank Luntz, a US polling expert, said he believed the mass populist uprising happening globally could push Trump into the White House.

“Populism is rising everywhere as people decide that government does not listen and does not care.

“But this is even more significant, because Britain has never been the source of populist uprisings like this. If Britain can vote itself out of Europe, America can vote itself in for Trump.”
So what does the future hold for Australia?
As this article was being written, the outcome of the elections had not been fully resolved, with all indicators being that Australian political future would be unstable due to the prospect of a “hung” parliament.
Perhaps this is Australia’s answer to its politicians that they have overstepped the mark and are now totally distrusted.
Already financial commentators are starting to point to a recession – the first in 25 years of uninterrupted growth of Australia’s economy, and it may have to be the price to be paid for the restoration of democratic rights in our country.
In the world of i2P we see evidence of an uncaring government in the form of official agencies and their heads simply not doing their job.
Dr Judy Wilyman, our writer specialist in Australian vaccination policy, has been trying to get government officials to do their job in regard to patient human rights, and the use of coercion as a back-door method of enforcing mandatory vaccination.
That government agencies are not performing appropriately and are allowing bias to intrude into their decision-making, is evidenced by an agency such as the NHMRC in its investigation into homeopathy and 17 other natural medicine modalities, and the subsequent findings that there was insufficient evidence to support their existence.
That the “evidence” presented was massaged and that important evidence was not included (because only written evidence from English sources were included), comes across as deliberate incompetence.
In other words, the Australian government has become dissociated from its people and very bad policy is being enforced on a vulnerable and helpless segment of population – the newborn.

Recently, a review committee into natural therapies was formed in Victoria, to investigate a range of natural therapies and whether they would be entitled to government benefit subsidies through private health funds.
Again, faulty policy emerged because the seventeen therapies singled out for benefit removal were the same seventeen therapies investigated by the NHMRC through the use of filtered evidence.
The Victorian committee followed the same biased method.
Underlying this activity was activity generated by the Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM) group that formed six identified votes on the investigating committee.
That illustrated the second level of bias underpinning the new resulting legislation.

While FSM is supposedly “pro-evidence” it seems to not use an evidence-based approach when criticising natural health modalities.
It principally uses opinions expressed by the more prominent of their membership.
i2P has continually called them to account for not chasing down all the fraudulent evidence that has provided the basis for many marketing campaigns by Big Pharma.
It is very strange to see such a group infiltrating a number of organisations with military-like precision and an undisclosed expense account which few organisations could afford.

Dr Kerryn Phelps has made comment in the Australian newspaper regarding the behaviour of FSM.
She is conjoint professor in the faculty of medicine, University of NSW, and a past president of the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Integrative Medicine Association.
She said:

“Friends of Science in Medicine”.
A lofty title, which sounds benign.
Friendly even.
Unfortunately, their motives were anything but friendly.

Their agenda was a declaration of war. They wanted to remove all complementary medicine courses from universities, including chiropractic, osteopathy, naturopathy, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.

Not only that, but where you chose to use these treatments and insure yourself for them, these “friends” were pressuring the federal government and insurance companies to stop funding them.
Their justification?
These healthcare disciplines were allegedly “pseudo-sciences” with “no valid scientific evidence”.

You won’t find evidence if you are not looking for it, or looking in the wrong places. The past decade has seen a lot of research in herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, exercise physiology, mind-body medicine, acupuncture and physical therapies.
To claim there is “no valid evidence” is arrogant and wrong.

For example, in a study published earlier this year, mindfulness practice was shown to be effective in relieving depression, anxiety, stress and chronic pain, and to improve the function of the immune system.

In looking at the treatment of depression, the Cochrane Collaboration – considered one of the most reliable summaries of medical evidence – has found the herb St John’s wort works better than a placebo, and works as well as, and has fewer side effects than, standard antidepressants.

Meanwhile, a study in the BMJ in 2001 found the herb vitex agnus castus, also known as chasteberry, which is widely used for a variety of female hormonal complaints including premenstrual syndrome, irregular or heavy periods and breast pain, was “an effective and well tolerated treatment” for such symptoms.

Early in my career acupuncture was rejected by conservative elements of the medical profession. It is now widely practised by doctors and there is growing evidence that is works for a range of conditions including different types of pain, nausea and menopausal hot flushes. It also is used in improving the chances of an IVF pregnancy.

Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners were nationally registered for the first time in July, with a system of national professional standards and professional accountability. What sense would it make if the training of these practitioners was removed from universities?

To suggest that TCM education be removed from universities is against the interest of your safety as a consumer. The same goes for the other healthcare disciplines. You want to know that a practitioner you are trusting with your healthcare has at least a minimum level of education from a reputable institution,

I am the first to speak up against health claims that are implausible, potentially dangerous or shown to be ineffective.
But these descriptions do not apply to any one philosophy of healthcare.

Medicine has made some phenomenal advances in treating and curing disease. But medical history is also littered with attempts to cure disease that have proven to be worthless or lethal. There are regular reports of drugs removed from the market because adverse effects were concealed before marketing or discovered after they had been inflicted on the public after massive marketing to doctors. Similarly, if natural therapies are found to be ineffective or dangerous, they should also be eliminated from the market.

If the Friends of Science in Medicine were serious about being friendly to science and caring about the health of the public, then they would use their efforts to ensure that there is way more funding for research into non-pharmaceutical treatments and integrative therapies, and an increase in university-based education for practitioners.

And they would be encouraging dialogue between the different healthcare disciplines instead of trying to force an artificial divide that is not in any way helpful to me as a GP, or you as a health consumer.

As a doctor and health consumer I want choice, and I want to know practitioners are well-trained and that treatments are the best and safest available. Maybe I should start a group called “Friends of Choice in Healthcare”.

i2P endorses all that Kerryn Phelps has stated and would simply request that pharmacists look beyond the rhetoric espoused by organisations such as the FSM and recognise that their agenda is an attack on consumer health choice and academic freedom for all health professionals.
Ultimately, a BREXIT-type uprising will be necessary to remove the shackles being imposed on health professions such as natural health and pharmacy.
We are seeing some of that happening through the formation of the Health Australia Party, finally providing a channel for the long-term development of a political solution.

One response to “What Does BREXIT mean for Australia in a Health Context”

  1. Wow, very well written Mark.
    Communicates very clearly the real situation as it is occuring.
    As a father of 4, I am extremely concerned about the activities of lobby groups when it comes to governments health policy.

    Best wishes -Rob.

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