Stakeholders concerned about Health Australia Party


The Health Australia Party should leave healthcare policy to people better suited to the task, say health stakeholders.

“I am concerned that a one-issue political party has sprung up around wanting to put unproven alternative health products on equal footing with thoroughly-researched medical practices,” says AMA (NSW) President Prof Brad Frankum.

According to the policy document on its website, “the HAP believes that natural medicine should be placed on an equal footing with pharmaceutical medicine”.
 
“Australians should be able to choose between pharmaceutical medicine practitioners and natural medicine practitioners without being disadvantaged financially for their choice.
 
“The HAP will promote the integration of natural medicine with the existing Medicare system.”
 
Its policy document has a listing for its intentions regarding pharmacies, but the description reads only, “New policy being prepared”.
 
The party says that products used to fluoridate water are “class 6 poisons” and should not be used.

Taree pharmacist and member of Friends of Science in Medicine member Ian Carr told the AJP today that “scaremongering” about fluoridation has been proven to be unfounded, and that arguments against evidence-based health measures such as fluoridation and vaccination often rely on conspiracy theories rather than facts.

HAP has denied being an anti-vaccination party.

Another plank of its platform includes its intent to “defend the right of every person/parent/legal guardian to choose to decline invasive medical procedures/interventions with no resultant punitive action of any kind”.

“I’d suggest that any support from the general public for these sorts of groups is not well considered,” Carr says.

“This would very much open the floodgates – we’ve got a system which appraises all of these types of things which gives them a fair chance of proving themselves. If products can’t legitimately prove themselves in a scientific and rational way they don’t deserve to be accepted.”

Prof Frankum said that the Health Australia Party wants to promote people’s health, but is going about it in entirely the wrong way.

“It says it wants to prioritise encouraging people to be healthy to combat chronic disease, when that is exactly what people like GPs and their practices are already doing,” he says.

“One of the biggest chronic disease threats facing Australia is the rises of diabetes and it is outright dangerous to be espousing the idea that a disease like that can be treated with alternative therapies.

“Unfortunately, in its policy document, the Health Australia Party descends into the conspiracy theory usually associated with the anti-vaccine movement.

“While its members have denied it is an anti-vaccination party, it certainly gives all the appearances of being part of that movement.

“It talks about the need for a thoroughly-researched vaccination program – as though the Australian immunisation schedule isn’t – and confuses the issue by saying this will help manage chronic disease.

“Immunisation is very effective in preventing the spread of infectious disease but can’t really help against conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, or other chronic diseases that come to mind.

“The Party also says it will seek out corruption in medical research, another hallmark of anti-vaccine-style conspiracy theory.

“Medical research is not incorruptible but it is very robust and people who are doing fraudulent research are rare and there are checks and balances that wind up exposing them.

“For instance, the work of disgraced former doctor, Andrew Wakefield, whose debunked research forms one of the bases for the anti-vaccination movement was found out.”

 

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1 Comment

  1. MontyC
    03/07/2016

    The HAP have a very valid platform and ideology, it’s called freedom of choice and human rights in choice. I
    think the best way to engage with this topic is to interview directly the HAP and present a fair and balanced article, rather than a one sided view that struggles to understand the view point of the patient/consumer/human, and the human experience for natural medicine, and the distrust of allopatic medicine where the mantra of first do no harm has been completely thrown out the window. From what I understand the HAP are not anti-vaxx, they are simply calling for safer vaccinations (especially relating to the preservatives used), testing and given with safer regimes, as had been in previous decades. There is ample research worldwide to back their claims, they are not stupid nor ill-informed, any criticism or attack on them from this angle exposes the ignorance and contempt of the detractor, and thus promotes the cause of the HAP, pretty simple, this has shown to work for the HAP during this election process.

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