Honest Universe

What we owe our pets

Mark Hanna Mar 22, 2018

I recently complained about a vet promoting quackery in the Bay of Plenty Times. In response to my complaint, the editor agreed to publish a response I wrote, regarding what we owe our pets. Now that it’s been up for a little while, I’m also publishing it here on my blog. The Bay of Plenty Times recently … Read More

New Rules for Pharmacists

Mark Hanna Mar 07, 2018

The Pharmacy Council has (finally) published their new Code of Ethics 2018. I’ve written several times on the ongoing saga of the Pharmacy Council’s Code of Ethics. In late 2014 we put together a complaint at the Society for Science Based Healthcare arguing that their Code of Ethics 2011 had been violated by … Read More

Can you trust Band-Aids?

Mark Hanna Nov 29, 2017

Band-Aid is a household name, but can you trust the way they’re promoted? For years Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturers of Band-Aid adhesive bandages, have been making a simple claim about them. If you put a Band-Aid on a cut, it will heal faster than it would have if left uncovered. Specifically, they say it will heal twice … Read More

Asking the government for information

Mark Hanna Oct 31, 2017

You have the right to ask the government for information. Because of a law called the Official Information Act (OIA), they’re obliged to give it to you unless there is a good reason not to. You’ve likely seen the OIA mentioned in the news. Phrases like “Documents released to [news outlet] under the Official Information Act” can often be found … Read More

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

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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

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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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