Media Release: Acupuncture Found to be Pointless

Acupuncture Found to be Pointless

 25 July 2016

Complementary and Alternative Health practices are increasingly under scrutiny as government looks for ways of cutting waste from the nation’s escalating health budget. Removing treatments and medicines that don’t work is an obvious starting point.

A recent government commissioned report from Australia’s top health research body, the National Health and Medical Research Council, found no credible scientific evidence of clinical effectiveness for any of the 18 most commonly used “Alternative” modalities  (Reflexology, Homeopathy, Iridology etc.).

Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM) emphasises the importance of having credible scientific evidence of clinical effectiveness underpin the delivery of healthcare in Australia. We are now arguing that it’s time to add acupuncture to the list of “treatments” for which there is no evidence of efficacy, a primary requirement for Medicare support.

In a comprehensive review, FSM has detailed the origins of acupuncture, the many conflicting and contradictory aspects of its practice, its incompatibility with well-established scientific principles and the inconsistency of the beliefs and practices of different schools of acupuncturists.

Despite millions of dollars having been spent on research into the effectiveness of acupuncture, that research has found that there is no consistent evidence that acupuncture provides any lasting benefit beyond a placebo effect.

Given the above, FSM calls on governments and health agencies not to endorse acupuncture or subsidise its applications, particularly at a time when evidence-based medicines and treatments are under threat as part of cost-cutting measures.

“Acupuncture has been studied for decades and the evidence for any clinical benefit continues to be weak and inconsistent,” said neuroscientist and executive member of FSM, Professor Marcello Costa, “There is no longer any justification for more studies. There is more than enough evidence to confidently conclude that acupuncture doesn’t work.”

“All health care providers who accept that they should base their treatments on scientific evidence but still include acupuncture as part of their health interventions, should seriously revise their practice,” emphasised Dr Sue Ieraci, emergency medicine specialist and advocate for evidence based medicine, “There is no place for acupuncture in evidence-based Medicine.”

The review available at <http://www.scienceinmedicine.org.au/images/pdf/acupuncturereview.pdf>.

(FSM Media Release 06)