Scammers gotta scam (23/7/2021)
Reminiscent of the fraud pulled using pretend clinical trials by archquack Stan Burzynski, a Melbourne operation calling itself the National Institute for Integrative Medicine has been charging people money to be part of a "clinical trial" of an unapproved (and unlikely) cancer treatment. In their favour, they only charge $850 to be a "participant" in the trial rather than the hundreds of thousands of dollars charged by Burzynski, but legitimate researchers do not charge people to be part of a trial.
Unfortunately nothing can be done by regulators to shut down this pretence at medicine, and the NIIM is up to its armpits in all sorts of quackery and charlatinism. The fact that leading proponents of alternatives to medicine such as Isaac Golden and Ian Brighthope are associated with NIIM should be enough of a red flag to warn off potential victims, but while ever respect is shown to homeopaths and other pushers of useless treatments and potions there is not much hope of the warning signs being observed.
And a note about calling yourself a "cancer specialist" – the word "specialist" in a medical context is a protected term. This means you can't use it unless you are actually qualified to be called a specialist in a particular medical field. To do so without such qualification is a criminal offence. If you see a quack using the term you can find out how to report them to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency at Reporting a criminal offence. Unfortunately AHPRA recognises chiropractors and other quacks as having some sort of legitimacy, but the world isn't perfect.
They walk amongst us! (24/7/2021)
Action this day #1 (24/7/2021)
Sometimes someone in authority actually takes action, but it looks like the COVID epidemic has encouraged them to take action against somebody. Unfortunately it takes some remarkably egregious claim to trigger any action.
Here's a media release from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission:
Lorna Jane pays $5 million over false 'anti-virus activewear' claims
The Federal Court has ordered Lorna Jane Pty Ltd (Lorna Jane), to pay $5 million in penalties for making false and misleading representations to consumers, and engaging in conduct liable to mislead the public, in connection with the promotion and supply of its "LJ Shield Activewear".
Lorna Jane Pty Ltd admitted that, between 2 and 23 July 2020, it falsely represented to consumers that its LJ Shield Activewear "eliminated", "stopped the spread" and "protected wearers" against "viruses including COVID-19". The misleading representations were made on in-store signage, on its website, on Instagram, in emails to consumers and in media releases.
The claims made by Lorna Jane about its LJ Shield Activewear included "Cure for the Spread of COVID-19? Lorna Jane Thinks So" and "LJ SHIELD is a groundbreaking technology that makes transferal of all pathogens to your Activewear (and let's face it, the one we're all thinking about is Covid-19) impossible by eliminating the virus on contact with the fabric".
"Lorna Jane falsely promoted its LJ Shield Activewear as eliminating or providing protection from COVID amidst growing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Australia," ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
"The whole marketing campaign was based upon consumers' desire for greater protection against the global pandemic."
"The $5 million in penalties imposed by the Court highlights the seriousness of Lorna Jane's conduct, which the judge called 'exploitative, predatory and potentially dangerous'," Mr Sims said.
Lorna Jane also admitted that it had falsely represented it had a scientific or technological basis for making the 'anti-virus' claims about its LJ Shield Activewear, when no such basis existed. The company admitted that it did not have any scientific testing results showing the effectiveness of LJ Shield Activewear on viruses, including COVID-19, nor did it have any scientific results or evidence which would establish the truth of the representations.
Lorna Jane also admitted that director and Chief Creative Officer, Ms Lorna Jane Clarkson, authorised and approved the LJ Shield Activewear promotional material, was involved in crafting the words and developing the imagery used in the marketing campaign, and personally made some of the false statements contained in a media release and an Instagram video.
The judge also said he had taken into account that 'the conduct emanated from a high managerial level within the company' and 'was directed by Ms Clarkson'.
"This was dreadful conduct as it involved making serious claims regarding public health when there was no basis for them," Mr Sims said.
"This type of conduct is particularly harmful where, as here, consumers cannot easily check or monitor the claims made."
Before the start of a hearing on liability, Lorna Jane cooperated with the ACCC, making admissions and agreeing to make joint submissions regarding the imposition of penalties totalling $5 million.
The Court also ordered by consent that for a period of three years, Lorna Jane is restrained from making any "anti-virus" claims regarding its activewear clothing unless it has a reasonable basis for doing so, must publish corrective notices across the mediums utilised in the marketing campaign, must establish a consumer law compliance program, and must pay the ACCC's costs.
Action this day #2 (24/7/2021)
The normally toothless Therapeutic Goods Administration has apparently acquired a new set of dentures. As well as initiating the action against Lorna Jane they have finally jumped on a homeopath for making bogus claims. Again it took a COVID offence to get anything done, because all homeopathic healing or treatment claims are bogus, but at least it's a start.
Here's the media release from the TGA.
Canberra individual fined $2,664 for alleged unlawful advertising of a homoeopathic medicine in relation to COVID-19
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), part of the Department of Health, has issued an infringement notice for $2,664 to an individual from Canberra, for a breach of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act) in relation to the alleged unlawful advertising of a homoeopathic medicine with COVID-19 claims.
The individual allegedly promoted, on their website, a homoeopathic immunisation product that contained a representation that the product provided "a more competent immune response to the Covid-2 virus, and also to those who [are] presenting with post Covid symptoms". The advertisement further stated that the product was made from "the SARS Covid-2".
The alleged advertising was unlawful because it made representations in relation to COVID-19. Any claims or references about therapeutic goods concerning the prevention or treatment of a serious form of a disease, condition, ailment or defect are restricted representations.
Under the Act, the use of restricted representations in advertisements for therapeutic goods is unlawful without the prior authorisation of the TGA. In this case, no relevant authorisation had been granted for the advertised claims.
The TGA was also concerned that the advertisement may result in Australians delaying vaccination in reliance on an unapproved product.
Unfortunately the TGA does not seem to have an actual list of infringement notices on their web site so I can't tell you who the shonk is. I'll keep looking to see if I can find more details, but I'm not optimistic.
How sad is this? (24/7/2021)
A quote from a doctor in Alabama:
Dr. Brytney Cobia said Monday that all but one of her COVID patients in Alabama did not receive the vaccine. The vaccinated patient, she said, just needed a little oxygen and is expected to fully recover. Some of the others are dying.
"I'm admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections," wrote Cobia, a hospitalist at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, in an emotional Facebook post Sunday. "One of the last things they do before they're intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I'm sorry, but it's too late."
Think about that last sentence and then GO AND GET VACCINATED!! "One of the last things they do before they're intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I'm sorry, but it's too late."
Read the whole sad story here.
And one last thing (24/7/2021)
Unfortunately we can't seem to get rid of anti-vaccination liar Taylor Winterstein. She took off to France for a while because her husband was moving his professional football career there. It seems that the footballing career fell through and they have been back in Australia for some time, grifting for money from gullible donors and running seminars on relationships that look a lot like monogamous orgies (that's the sort of orgy where pairs of participants don't change partners).
Tay is of course opposed to anything that anyone can do to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and she took part in an illegal gathering to protest against masks, lockdowns, vaccines and anything else she could think of. She even posted a picture on social media of her and her husband defying the law.
$1,000 fine. Each. She videoed the cops telling her about the fine and lied about telling them to go away. But lying is what she does for a living.
At the same protest a clown was photographed (and videoed by news cameramen) taking a swing at a police horse. The police were not amused. The version from the liar community was that he was just protecting himself from the horse, but news coverage from a helicopter showed that he had plenty of room behind him to get away from the horse. He was arrested.
Oh, and just to increase the lie count, Tay posted a photo to Instagram showing the enormous crowd that turned out for the protest. It would have been more convincing if it hadn't been a photo taken at the Black Lives Matter gathering earlier in the year. But liars just have to keep lying to meet their quotas.
But she doesn't like fake news. No, sireee!!!