|A Reply to the article on homoeopathy in the Asahi newspaper in Japan
In response to the report in the local news section of the morning edition of the Asahi newpaper on 5th August 2010
(which can be found at http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0804/TKY201008040482.html)
the JPHMA would like to raise the following issues:
With regard to the lawsuit in the Yamaguchi prefecture, the first trial hearing was held on 4th August, wherein the midwive, who is a member of the JPHMA, rejected the request for compensation.
In refusing the plaintiff's claim the issue will now go before a judicial court which will clarify the facts and pass judgement.
The JPHMA will take note of this judgement and regrets that the media have already reached their conclusions on the subject in articles as biased and prejudiced as the one under discussion here.
It is grossly unfair to give the impression that the sad death of the infant was due to homoeopathy; people do not die from taking homoeopathic remedies.
To avoid such misunderstandings amongst the readers of this article, we will select parts of the article and clarify the author's claims.
Furthermore it should be stated from the outset that the JPHMA has reservations about the validity of this lawsuit as there is currently a civil case in process on the same subject.
1) 5th August 2010, Yusuke Fukui and Akiko Okazaki
" He claims that he is aware of a radical homoeopathic group who claim not to give vaccinations or use conventional medicines..." (PROBLEMS IN PRESCRIBING BY MEDICALLY UNQUALIFIED THERAPISTS)
This comment was made by an associate professor, Dr Akira Kawahima, who believes that homoeopathic treatments should be the exclusive preserve of qualified medical professionals.
We strongly regret the implication that the JPHMA are in anyway involved with this radical group.
Dr Kawashima has made similarly misleading comments in the past about the JPHMA, which he has then retracted after the JPHMA was obliged to seek legal advice
as he would not clarify or correct his comments.
As long as a treatment is not legally compulsory, the JPHMA recognises the right of an individual to be informed of the efficacy of both vaccinations and other conventional medicines
and to be able to choose their treatment accordingly.
JPHMA has no authority to claim that people should reject vaccinations or other conventional medicines, and has never made such a claim.
It is the role of the JPHMA to provide clinical experiences and homoeopathic discoveries to enable the public to make a choice in how they wish to be treated,
and the position of the JPHMA has always been, since its foundation in 1998, that practitioners of conventional medicines and homoeopaths should co-operate and capitalise on the benefits of each other's practice.
The JPHMA is in the process of trying to discover if there is a radical homoeopathic group such as Dr Kawashima claims, and if so which group it is.
2) 5th August 2010, Yusuke Fukui and Akiko Okazaki
" He stresses that issuing homoeopathic remedies are medical acts..." (PROBLEMS IN PRESCRIBING BY MEDICALLY UNQUALIFIED THERAPISTS)
This comment was again made by Dr Kawashima, and suggests that he has misunderstood section 17 of the Medical Practitioners Act.
The act states that "If a medical practise is to be performed it must be by a medical doctor".
This does not mean that all health practises must be performed by qualified doctors as this would undermine the freedom of choice which is guaranteed by the Japanese Constitution.
We at the JPHMA interpret this section of the act to mean that only practitioners qualified in modern conventional methods should practise these modern conventional methods.
There are many treatment-based health practises other than conventional medicine, and it is the expectation that each of these practises would also produce professionals who have trained in their individual speciality.
Homoeopathy as a therapeutic method has over 200 years of recorded individual and clinical practise to draw upon.
To belong to the JPHMA requires that a professional standard of practise must have been reached by the applicant.
3) 5th August 2010, Yusuke Fukui and Akiko Okazaki
"He... and should be done by medically qualified physicians, like medical doctors and dentists." (PROBLEMS IN PRESCRIBING BY MEDICALLY UNQUALIFIED THERAPISTS)
Dr Kawashima's concern is misplaced. In Japan homoeopathic remedies are registered a food supplements,
not as conventional medicines, therefore the issuing of homoeopathic products is not a medical practise and it is misleading of Dr Kawashima to imply that remedies are like conventional drugs.
Homoeopathy has a different therapeutic approach to that used in conventional medicine. It requires specialised training, and only properly qualified homoeopaths should be homoeopathic practitioners. A doctor or a dentist who is not qualified in homoeopathy should not practise homoeopathy.
Homoeopathy is however widely accepted as an alternative to conventional medicines, and homoeopathic products are readily available to everybody who is interested, and many people practise self-medication as they discover the benefits of homoeopathy. Dr Kawashima's comments indicate that he is unswayed by the evidence around him.
4) 5th August 2010, Yusuke Fukui and Akiko Okazaki
"They have also requested that the JPHMA publicly state they do not wish their clients to cease using conventional medications..." (HOMOEOPATHIC ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES SEEK...NATURAL IMMUNE SYSTEM)
This comment was made by the Midwives Association, but the JPHMA has not recieved such a request and has contacted the Association on the matter.
It is misleading to give the impression that the JPHMA is in any way opposed to conventional medicine, as has been stated previously.
5) 5th August 2010, Yusuke Fukui and Akiko Okazaki
"We do not categorically deny the efficacy of homoeopathy, but we are aware that their are problems with some midwives refusing to administer vitamin K2 and provide vaccinations" (HOMOEOPATHIC ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES SEEK...NATURAL IMMUNE SYSTEM)
This statement by Ms Okamoto implies that the JPHMA is opposed to the administration of vitamin K2 or vaccinations. This is categorically not the case as has been shown above.
6) 5th August 2010, Yusuke Fukui and Akiko Okazaki
"...homoeopathy is clearly unscientific: "The remedy is only a grain of sugar because the dilution process does not even leave a molecule of the original substance in the pill." (THE IDEA DOES NOT MAKE SENSE)
Professor Kikuchi of Osaka University claims is indicative of the closed minds of many scientists.
He has never performed any research in the field of homoepathy, otherwise he would be aware of the history of scientific research that has been performed by homoeopaths.
7) 5th August 2010, Yusuke Fukui and Akiko Okazaki
"HOMOEOPAPTHIC ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES SEEK TO CURE BY GIVING HIGHLY TOXIC, DILUTED MEDICATIONS "TO STRENGTHEN THE BODY'S NATURAL IMMUNE SYSTEM"
From the very start of the article the emphasis of the writer is on toxins, and the possible dangers of homoeopathy.
Homoeopathic remedies are non-toxic and are often made using substances which are not poisonous to humans.
Remedies which are made from toxins cease to be toxic during the process of making the remedy. To use emotive terms such as "highly diluted toxins" is not just misleading - it is simply wrong.
8) 5th August 2010, Yusuke Fukui and Akiko Okazaki
"The remedies usually come in a sugar pill form, and are made by the serial dilution of plant, animal or mineral elements with water.
This mixture is shaken forcefully, and diluted 100 times and repeated the same work for thirty times, and there is almost no trace of the original element remaining" (HOMOEOPATHY)
When a 100 times dilution is repeated thirty times it is reduced to ten to the sixteenth power. It would be correct to say then that there is no molecule of the original substance remaining in the remedy.