It is not known how many Australians use homoeopathy. However, a National Prescribing Service Complementary Medicines Australian consumer phone survey in 2007 demonstrated that of 947 respondents 67 were using homoeopathics, which represented 7.1% of all categories of complementary medicines.1 A study by MacLennan in 1996 found that 4.4% of his sample had used homoeopathic medicines in the past year and 1.2% had visited a homoeopath, i.e. an estimated 240,000 homoeopathic consultations in 1996.2
A survey carried out by the Complementary Healthcare Council3 in 2008 found that Australians spent the approximately A$5.4 million on homoeopathy in 2008.
According to the 'Retail Pharmacy' magazine, 77% of Australians use natural medicines at least once a year [July 2002] and 86% of Australians think natural medicines have a role to play in healthcare [July 2002].
The 'Australian Family Physician' magazine reported in June 2000 that 90% of Australian doctors get asked about natural medicines by their patients and that 46% of Australian doctors have taken some form of training in natural medicine [June 2000].
31% of Australians regularly visit a complementary medicine practitioner.4
1 Williamson M, Tudball J, Toms M, Garden F, and Grunseit A. Information Use and Needs of Complementary Medicines Users. National Prescribing Service, Sydney, October 2008
2 MacLennan AH, Wilson DH, Taylor AW. Prevalence and cost of alternative medicine in Australia. Lancet, 1996, 347: 569-573
3 Now: Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA)
4 Australian Journal of Pharmacy, 83, June 2002, 516-517
The structure of the homoeopathic profession in Australia
There are a number of homoeopathic associations in Australia, all of which are members of the Australian Register of Homoeopaths (ARoH). In order to become a Professional member of any of these associations, practitioners have to meet the criteria for entry into ARoH.
ARoH provides a national body (structurally supported by the professional homoeopathy associations) for determining standards for the education and competency of homoeopaths. The Register acts as independently as possible from those associations, to uphold the standards and to receive and determine complaints.
ARoH-registered practitioners are recognised as providers by most private health funds. The provider register is updated by ARoH on a monthly basis, assisting patients to get value from their policies.
Most of ARoH's member associations operate in different states, while the Australian Homoeopathic Association is the largest and only national association with Branches in 5 states. All member associations of ARoH have a Constitution, a Code of Ethics and a Complaints Procedure.