AHPRA-CBA Stakeholder Forum July 28, 2016

This forum was organised by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the Chiropractic Board of Australia (CBA) in response to longstanding concerns (and recent publicity) about the promotion and practice of many chiropractors that lacks an adequete evidence base.

It follows a Sydney University Health-Law Seminar on the promotion of therapeutic goods and services held earlier this year.

The following material was prepared for the AHPRA-CBA Stakeholder Forum:

A report on the Forum is currently being prepared.

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Access to Medicines: New resources

There is a new book and website that illustrate the impact of intellectual property (IP) on access to medicines, launched today by Health Action International in collaboration with public health advocate and HAI member, Ellen ’t Hoen.

In her book, “Private Patents and Public Health: Changing intellectual property rules for access to medicinesEllen chronicles parallel developments in global health and international patent laws. She warns that trends in international IP law are hindering many of the policy tools that were successfully used to scale up antiretroviral treatment during the HIV/AIDS crisis of the late 1990s. To avoid a similar access to medicines crisis, she offers numerous solutions to restore balance in the current biomedical R&D system.

The new website, meanwhile, incorporates simplified content from the book, along with infographics that can be easily shared via Twitter and Facebook. The main purpose of the site is to provide those who are new to the access to medicines field with a basic level of knowledge about the relationship between IP and access to medicines; however, experienced advocates, policy-makers, consumers and journalists may also find it useful given that it provides more in-depth analyses into key IP issues, as well as infographics and links to resources that are relevant to their work.

We invite you to share the website’s information and infographics widely on social media—for advocates to incorporate the materials into your own campaigns, for policy-makers to use it as a vital source of information to inform your policy decisions, and for consumers and journalists to become more aware of the impact of IP on access to medicines.

Ellen’s book is available, free of charge, on the new website.

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De-registered chiropractor in hyperbaric death probe

Mr Hooper’s chiropractic registration was cancelled in 2013 when the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal found him guilty of six counts of misconduct.

The tribunal ruled that as well as charging Mr Tekin almost $45,000 for more than 200 hours of unproven oxygen therapies for his cerebral palsy, Mr Hooper had made unfounded claims about his ability to treat more than 30 conditions.

Because Mr Hooper is no longer registered as a chiropractor, he no longer has to answer to the Chiropractic Board of Australia.

And because his treatments are not regarded as mainstream medicine, they do not fall under the authority of any medical board.

The situation has left the State Government asking the ACCC to investigate whether Hypermed has engaged in misleading business practices.

The Herald Sun understands that the government is also examining whether it can introduce laws which may outlaw Mr Hooper’s treatments as well as a range of other unproven and suspect therapies.

The legislation will create a new Health Complaints Commission with the power to crack down on dangerous or unethical unregistered health practitioners.

But the Bill is not scheduled to be passed by state parliament until February next year.

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency spokeswoman Ainta Rivera said the measures would offer patients greater protection from unregistered practitioners.


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Yet another weight loss scam (Dr Thomas Goyer)

On June 23, 2016 “The Age Green Guide” contained a full page advertisement titled, “Medical Team Discovers How To Reset Hormones For Weight Loss”.

The advertisement featured Dr Thomas Clement Goyer and the Medical Weightloss Institute. Claims included:

“Thanks to the team at GTC Medical and the Medical Weightloss Institute (MWI) Australians can now lose weight without strenuous exercise and counting calories – thanks to a treatment that resets the hormones to burn fat for fuel”.

“I had been overweight my entire life and tried everything. Nothing worked. Then I had a consult with Dr Tom and it changed everything. I’ve lost 42kg now and I honestly feel amazing. I had more energy from day 1 on the program. I tell everyone who will listen; they have to try the Medical Weightloss Institute” says Nazih Hamze from Sydney (32 years old)”.

Similar claims are found at: http://mwiconsult.com.au/

I have submitted a complaint to both AHPRA and the ACCC alleging that this promotion, involving both Dr Goyer and the Medical Weightloss Institute, is misleading, deceptive and exploitative, lacks an evidence base and preys on a vulnerable population, the overweight and obese.

I have argued that this promotion is misleading, deceptive and exploitative, lacks an evidence base and preys on a vulnerable population, the overweight and obese. I believe it requires AHPRA to prosecute Dr Goyer in the Magistrates Court (Part 7 of National Law) and/or discipline him by referral to a tribunal (Part 8 of National Law). I also suggest that ACCC should obtain an immediate Court injunction against Medical Weightloss Institute to remove the web site content and (by use of an enforceable undertaking) replace it with a large, suitably worded retraction. A similar full page retraction should also be published in the next edition of “The Age Green Guide” and any other placement of this advertisement

Meanwhile, I note the following report about Dr Thomas Goyer.


“Among the AMI doctors who gave evidence was Dr Thomas Goyer. He told the court that the AMI job was not particularly demanding for a doctor “because no one dies of erectile dysfunction” and it was not as “terrible” as it would be to practise as a GP. Although he said the work was repetitious, Dr Goyer was paid $1000 a day. “Dr Goyer did not present as a doctor who was committed to patient care,” the judge wrote, describing the manner in which Dr Goyer presented his evidence as “arrogant, obstructive and unco-operative”.

See also: ‘Medical Weightloss Institute’ under fire for dubious claims

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Dr Glen Maginness YouTube video and Mt Eliza Family Chiro Clinic Website & Facebook page

On May 30, 2016 Dr Glen Maginness (a Victorian AHPRA registered chiropractor)  published a YouTube video, titled, “Paediatric Chiropractor Hits Back (at medical bullies)!” This link has now been made private but it was copied while in the public domain and is available here.

I have sent a notification to AHPRA about the statements Dr Maginness made in this video which I submit breach both s.133 of the National Law, the Chiropractic Board of Australia Code of Conduct and the Board’s March 7, 2016 “Statement of advertising”. The notification includes a transcript of the video and a detailed rebuttal of the claims made.

My colleague, Malcolm Vickers and I have also submitted an additional eight notifications for all the chiropractors (including Dr Maginness) that practice at the Mt Eliza Family Chiropractic Clinic. We believe that the claims made on the Mt Eliza Family Chiropractic Clinic web site are particularly egregious and show a blatant disregard for Chiropractic Board’s recent “Statement of advertising”.

We accept that the eight chiropractors involved in the Mt Eliza Family Chiropractic Clinic are caring practitioners who genuinely believe that their interventions on paediatric patients are effective. However, belief based on disproven dogma, the selective use of poor-quality evidence, and personal experience subject to bias, is no longer an appropriate basis on which to promote and practice therapeutic interventions.

The Mt Eliza Family Chiropractic Clinic chiropractors (and many others) continue to promote and provide chiropractic treatment for conditions which the Chiropractic Board of Australia has said are unacceptable. This is both an ethical and public health issue and warrants immediate action by AHPRA and the Chiropractic Board.

The Chiropractic Board has recently acted on Dr Ian Rossborough who published a YouTube video that showed him performing a chiropractic adjustment on a new born baby. However, his numerous colleagues, such as the eight Mt Eliza Family Chiropractic Clinic chiropractors mentioned above, who promote (and practice) in the same manner have yet to have similar sanctions applied.

AHPRA’s June 2016 Newsletter notes they are currently dealing with 600 complaints against chiropractors, many relating to their treatment of babies and children. Surely, what is good for Rossborough is good for the lot of them; no chiropractor should practice on children younger than 6 and for kids from 6 to 18 they must all provide evidence to justify their treatments, not just to a “skilled registered chiropractor (the supervisor)” but publically!

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National Medicines Symposium 2016

Presented a seminar at NMS 2016 in Canberra on Canberra, May 19, 2016 titled “Reinvigorating the regulation of therapeutic goods advertising to consumers” with Agnes Vitry & Barbara Mintzes.

See also: AUST L requirements encourage ‘shonky products’

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ABC RN background briefing: Chiro wars; Dr Ian Rossborough

The latest media coverage in this long running saga.

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Seminar: The Advertising of Therapeutic Good and Services, March 17, 2016


This seminar was held back-to-back with World Consumer Rights Day 2016 (March 15) and the National Consumer Congress (March 16). The latter was hosted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The 2016 Congress discussed how to better protect and empower consumers in the lead up to the review of the Australian Consumer Law.

Our seminar’s aim was to outline current concerns that consumer (and health professional) organisations have with the advertising of therapeutic goods and services and explore ways in which the system(s) might be improved.

Organisations that have expressed concern about these matters include the Consumers Health Forum, Choice (Australian Consumers’ Association), Friends of Science in Medicine, Australian Skeptics, the Doctors Reform Society and Stop the Australian (Anti) Vaccination Network.

The seminar was organised and supported by Choice, the Foundation for Effective Markets and Governance (FEMAG), University of Sydney (Health Law Centre), Monash University (School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine) and the ACCC.

Topics discussed

  • The promotion of therapeutic goods to health professionals: Industry self-regulatory codes
  • The promotion of therapeutic goods to consumers
  • Promotion of therapeutic services by registered health professionals
  • Promotion of therapeutic services by unregistered health professionals

The following material is available for download:


Posted in Chiropractic, Complementary medicine, Education, Natural Therapies, Pharmaceutical Promotion | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chiropractic Board Media Release on Advertising, 7 March 2016

Chiropractors must ensure their advertising is within the law

The Chiropractic Board of Australia, which regulates Australia’s 5,000 chiropractors, has today released a statement reinforcing that practitioners need to ensure their advertising complies with the requirements of the National Law, or they risk prosecution and disciplinary action. More at:


Statement on advertising

The Board is very concerned about any chiropractors with advertising (including websites) that may not meet the required standards despite repeated guidance being provided by the Board.

In order to provide further clarity to both practitioners and the public, the Board provides the following clear advice on advertising matters. More at:


Media coverage

My view: The Chiropractic Board’s “Statement on advertising” and “”Media release are welcome as far as they go.

However, there remain hundreds of chiropractor web sites that continue to make the claims identified in the “Statement” (and numerous other claims are made, equally lacking in evidence).

The last five years of “educative” communiques from the Board have had minimal impact on practitioners.  While this “Statement” is more specific than those produced in the past, it still does not identify all the non-evidenced claims complained about (see consolidated list from only ten complaints attached).

In addition, unlike the U.K. General Chiropractic Council and Chiropractic Australia, the Australian Chiropractic Board (and the Chiropractic Association of Australia) has yet to state that,

“The chiropractic vertebral subluxation complex is an historical concept but it remains a theoretical model. It is not supported by any clinical research evidence that would allow claims to be made that it is the cause of disease” (attached).

Claims made about the alleged value of routine chiropractic care for pregnant women, new-born, babies, children and numerous medical conditions are often based on this erroneous subluxation concept. In addition, they clearly increase the practitioner’s business and bank balance.

It’s my view that until such time as the Board and AHPRA penalise and publicise those practitioners for breaching s.133 of the National Law little will change.

Part 7, of the National Law is available to prosecute advertising offenders in the Magistrates Court (maximum penalties available for this statutory offence are $5 000 for an individual and $10 000 for a body corporate).

Part 8 of the National Law is available to sanction recalcitrant practitioners for repeated advertising offences. Penalties available under Part 8 include cautions, accepting undertakings, placing conditions of the practitioner’s registration or, for professional misconduct, referral to a tribunal with the power to impose additional penalties, including a fine of up to $30 000.

Another advantage of using Part 7 and 8 of the National Law is that Court and Tribunal Decisions about individual practitioners are published on the AHPRA web site.

I reiterate, until such time as timely and effective sanctions are employed by AHPRA and the Chiropractic Board, I doubt that significant change will occur.

For previous coverage click here.


Posted in Chiropractic, Education | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Chemmart’s myDNA test offers more than it can deliver

See: https://theconversation.com/chemmarts-mydna-test-offers-more-than-it-can-deliver-54484

Also: http://www.australiandoctor.com.au/news/latest-news/pharmacies-attacked-for-flogging-$149-dna-testing

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