After the many conversations and numerous letters that I’ve sent WSU management regarding the seriously flawed operational matters at the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), one might think that they will at least be looking into this matter. At the very least! That they are reluctant to do so is quite clear. They have remained eerily silent even after I approached the state and federal ministers of health, the NHMRC, TGA etc. and after I started to expose what they are up to with this Blog – with my plight even making it into the newspapers.
A short recap. How is it possible that one person is jailed for using a “medicine” whilst a professor at WSU receives accolades for defending/promoting the exact same “medicine”? And this is happening in the same country under the watchful eye of the same regulators. Yes, it is about homeopathy again (and all other similar imaginative “inventions”). You have to be an excellent salesman, without any conscience, if you can sell water to a child to protect them against malaria – I have to give them that. And it is not that they do not know what is going on, they know exactly what is going on. You can find an extensive explanation of this fascinating paradox here. Thus the question is; have WSU seen the light, did they investigate this matter, what is the management of WSU currently up to? Or are they just lying low until the dust blows over.
I always dread looking at the NICM’s newsletters or at any of their major sponsors’ websites, such as the Jacka Foundation, simply because it makes my blood boil. I always ask myself; how is it possible that these people can get away with it! It is as if they are drugged and that they are occupying a parallel universe where strange natural laws exist (obviously drugged with a real drug and not a homeopathic one). Sometimes my curiosity does get the better of me, so with trembling hands I recently ventured into the alternate universe of the Jacka Foundation’s website – and they never seem to disappoint!
One report on their website gave me a very clear answer as to what the WSU’s management is up to regarding the NICM. Here is the title on Jacka’s website: “Judy Jacka receives Honorary Fellowship from Western Sydney University” The title on WSU’s website: “Leading Australians honoured by Western Sydney University”. Here is a short excerpt from her acceptance speech (the full speech is also interesting) “Observations indicated that a synthesis of vitamins, minerals, herbs and homeopathy enabled individuals to overcome many acute and chronic disorders. I was inspired to help in the school, and from 1972 we gradually raised the standards in the medical and science areas. In the same year I started my own clinical practice. My aim was to practise integrative medicine by not only using the synthesis mentioned above, but including energy work when appropriate, plus teaching meditation”.
Yes, this speech was given in 2016 and, yes, WSU has given an award and called someone a leading Australian who practices homeopathy, energy healing etc. The “bent spoon nomination” for WSU and the NICM is thus warranted. The interesting aspects regarding this honorary fellowship are:
- The vice chancellor, Barney Glover, is standing next to this lady and he tells all the bright eyed students, with a straight face, that WSU is a world-class research led and student centred university.
- Apparently WSU is not that good with maths. Judy Jacka donated $500k / annum for the NICM whilst the NICM costs the WSU (the taxpayer) $2+ million/annum. A deficit of $1.5+ million/annum.
- With this deficit in mind Barney Glover has also destroyed their scientific credibility (research and training) of WSU by bestowing this honorary fellowship on quacks with money.
- The WSU has now opened the door for anyone who has a bit of money to buy their way into the University. The WSU’s desperation is evident.
It has been said many times before, that universities are under tremendous financial pressure and the only way to survive is thus to increase their income and/or decrease their expenditures.
The NICM (formerly known as CompleMed) has been supported by WSU for many years (10-20 years) at a cost of many millions to the taxpayer (they currently receive $2.1 million / annum, so an educated guess would be $20 + million since inception). The NICM’s income is minimal as compared to what they actually cost WSU. The Jacka foundation has donated roughly 4 million over an 8 year period, which is by far the NICM’s biggest income – still petty cash as compared to what they actually cost. Why then, will WSU be happy to incur a large deficit every year on the NICM and, importantly, put their scientific credibility on the line?
Having worked at the NICM for a number of years one thing, amongst many other things, struck me as amazing. Their ability to make empty promises and people’s (WSU management) ability to actually fall for it. Although the NICM is terrible at science they are masters in politics, lobbying and business. They managed to persuade the WSU management that a boat full of money (from China) is just around the corner (the Australia-China trade deal and the subsequent “profits” that will be made from the $170 billion TCM market). These promises were made four years ago when I started working there and when I left, three years later, that boat just did not seem to be mooring off any time soon. According to the NICM you can see the boat on the horizon, but I am afraid, that is where it will stay – they have been saying that for a very long time.
I really hope that the WSU will sooner or later realise that they have destroyed their scientific credibility for money, that in all probability, will never come. Will they ever see the light?
The solution is simple. Close the NICM down! Savings would amount to $2 million/annum whilst losses will be $500k/annum (Jacka Foundation). It makes financial sense; it makes scientific sense – and this is WSU’s only way out of this mess. Use these savings to restore confidence in WSU’s scientific research by sponsoring real research. Money will become tighter and tighter and that boat, promised by the NICM for the past decade, will never come!!