Honest Universe

NZ political parties’ transgender health plans

Mark Hanna Aug 31, 2017

Access to gender affirmation surgery in New Zealand is abysmal, with waiting lists that are decades long. I’ve asked our major political parties what they will do about it if elected. On the 27th of July, I sent emails to four political parties outlining the issue of access to gender affirmation surgery*. I contacted the healthcare spokespersons for the Green, … Read More

New Zealand should not regulate naturopaths

Mark Hanna Aug 28, 2017

Naturopaths can kill, but regulating them is not the answer. Over the weekend, the Sunday Star Times published an article by Simon Maude on an unnamed naturopath whose inept attempts at cancer treatment led to the death of an Auckland woman last year: Naturopathy under microscope after cancer sufferers speak from under shadow of death At … Read More

Pharmacy Ethics: Have Your Say

Mark Hanna Jul 24, 2017

The Pharmacy Council has opened consultations on a proposed new code of ethics. Following an initial consultation in 2015 where they’d proposed changing one part of the existing code, the council has since decided the whole code could do with a review. The Pharmacy Council is the regulatory body for pharmacists in New Zealand, set up … Read More

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A failure to regulate

Mark Hanna Apr 19, 2017

New Zealand has several layers of regulation to protect us against misleading health claims. Sometimes they all fail. My struggle against quackery over the last few years has given me some familiarity with the ways we’re protected against it, and with their shortcomings. Misleading people about their healthcare options is something that is clearly unethical. To quote the alt text … Read More

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Are local quacks getting away with health fraud?

Mark Hanna Dec 15, 2016

A decades old loophole in New Zealand’s patient protection legislation is letting quacks get away with what could amount to health fraud, right under the regulator’s nose. In New Zealand, patients are protected from “health fraud scams” by the Medicines Act. This legislation, which is enforced by Medsafe, only allows products making strong health claims to be sold … Read More

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Can the Greens ditch their anti-science baggage?

Mark Hanna Dec 15, 2016

Steffan Browning will leave his role as an MP next year, which is a great opportunity for the Green Party to ditch their anti-science baggage. I have a love-hate relationship with the Green Party. I love their social policies, but as someone who dedicates a lot of my time to fighting pseudoscience I have a hard time justifying support for … Read More

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Bad Science Case Study: Dog Bones

Mark Hanna Oct 31, 2016

The New Zealand Herald and Jimbo’s have provided us with an idealised “bad science” case study. The New Zealand Herald article Today, the Herald published an article about a “trial” published by pet food manufacturer Jimbo’s: No bones about bones The trial was intended to evaluate how eating bones affects the dental health of dogs. Thankfully the … Read More

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A Sceptical Guide to DHB Voting

Mark Hanna Sep 30, 2016

I’ve looked into this year’s district health board candidates to help you keep quacks off your DHB this election. Unless you live in Southland, this year you probably get to vote for several spots on your local district health board. With the move to DHBs making decisions about water fluoridation, there’s a danger that some of … Read More

Colloidal Silver Blues

Mark Hanna Jun 16, 2016

Don’t be fooled, colloidal silver sprays and creams won’t benefit your health. In the continuing trend of the New Zealand media advertising ineffective health products as though it’s news, stuff.co.nz has published an article pushing colloidal silver for treating infections and skin conditions. The article quotes a naturopath and sales representative from Skybright Natural Health, a company that … Read More

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$26m for Acupuncture

Mark Hanna May 04, 2016

Last week, ACC’s spending on alternative therapies was in the media spotlight. There were pieces on both TV3’s Story and Stuff asking the question of whether or not this spending is justified. This was prompted by some new information that’s been released by ACC under the Official Information Act, regarding their funding of acupuncture treatments. ACC … Read More

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