AHPRA’s handling of complaints about pharmacist Gerald Quigley

My students involvement in this complaint about Gerald Quigley was reported last December in the Australian Journal of Pharmacy.

In addition to sending a complaint to the TGACRP, my students also sent a complaint about Gerald Quigley to AHPRA

AHPRA’s response was to ignore the concerns about Quigley, regard it as a matter for the TGA (who do not regulate practitioners) and close the case!

Whereupon I asked for a re-examination of the complaint (appended).

AHPRA’s response was to deny there were any problems.

Now, we have the TGACRP determination about Quigley’s promotion of Blooms Coenzyme Q10 150 Max which includes a request for a retraction (below).

I’ve appended yet another email sent to AHPRA requesting they revisit the original complaint by my students that alleged Mr Quigley’s conduct in endorsing this product was in breach of the:

  • Pharmacy Code of Conduct,
  • AHPRA guidelines for the Advertising of Regulated Health Services and the
  • Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act.


From: Kenneth Harvey <kenneth.harvey@monash.edu>
Date: 10 February 2017 at 11:50
Subject: Re: Correspondence from AHPRA about Mr Gerald Quigley; Reference Number: 00321441
To: Diana Newcombe <Diana.Newcombe@ahpra.gov.au>
Cc: Sasha Hall <shal47@student.monash.edu>, Tiana Angela Moutafis <tamou1@student.monash.edu>, Genevieve Grant <genevieve.grant@monash.edu>

Attention: Diana Newcombe
National Director, Legal Services, AHPRA

Dear Diana,

I’m emailing you about this matter as the letter received by my student from Camilla Worsnop (AHPRA Senior Legal Adviser) provided no contact email address or telephone number. I’ve attached Ms Worsnop’s letter and the original complaints sent to both AHPRA and the TGACRP.

I have the following concerns.

First, the AHPRA Senior Legal Adviser sent her response to my student, not kenneth.harvey@monash.edu as requested.

Second, she did not address the allegation that Mr Quigley’s behaviour is in breach of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act nor did she provide advice on whether Mr Quigley’s action constitutes a regulated health service under s 133(4) of the Act as requested.

Third, she considered that this matter was more appropriately dealt with by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and noted that a complaint has been sent to the TGA. This is incorrect. The complaint about the alleged breach of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code was sent to the TGACRP, not the TGA and it has been acknowledged as Complaint 2016/12/003 Blooms Coenzyme Q10 150 Max. However, given the current lack of resources of the TGACRP it will be 6-8 months or more before we hear the outcome of that complaint! In addition, the TGACRP can only consider a complaint about the advertising of a therapeutic good; they cannot consider a complaint about a registered health practitioner.

Finally, no response was provided about the previous unanswered complaints about Mr Quigley sent to the AHPRA in 2013.

I should be grateful if you could review this matter.


From: Ken Harvey [mailto:ken.harvey@medreach.com.au]
Sent: Sunday, 16 July 2017 11:28
To: ‘Diana Newcombe’ <Diana.Newcombe@ahpra.gov.au>; Chris Robertson (Chris.Robertson@ahpra.gov.au) <Chris.Robertson@ahpra.gov.au>; Martin Fletcher (Martin.Fletcher@ahpra.gov.au) <Martin.Fletcher@ahpra.gov.au>
Cc: Tiana Moutafis (tamou1@student.monash.edu) <tamou1@student.monash.edu>; Sasha Hall (shal47@student.monash.edu) <shal47@student.monash.edu>; ‘Genevieve Grant’ <genevieve.grant@monash.edu>; ‘Basia Diug (basia.diug@monash.edu)’ <basia.diug@monash.edu>; John Dwyer (j.dwyer@unsw.edu.au) <j.dwyer@unsw.edu.au>
Subject: Re: AHPRA’s handling of my student’s complaints about pharmacist Gerald Quigley (PHA0000958745); Reference Number: 00321441
Importance: High

Dear Diana, et al.

I noted Bryan Sketchley’s response to our concerns (attached).

I now attach the TGACRP determination of the complaint my students sent to them.

Para 16 states, “Phytologic acknowledged that “the article written by Mr Quigley breached the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code 2015 (the Code) in the ways described by the complainant, and have removed the page from our website.”

Para 35 states, “The Panel requests Phytologic Holdings Pty Ltd, in accordance with subregulation 42ZCAI(1) of the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990:

e) to arrange for publication on the website bloomshealth.com.au, of a retraction in the form of, and in accordance with, the conditions set out in the attachment to this determination” (appended).

In the light of this determination, I request that AHPRA revisit the original complaint by my students that alleged Mr Quigley’s conduct in endorsing this product was in breach of the Pharmacy Code of Conduct, AHPRA guidelines for the Advertising of Regulated Health Services and the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act.

In my opinion, given Mr Quigley’s repeated (and serious) offences in this regard, I believe that he should be prosecuted by AHPRA, ordered by a court to pay a $5,000 penalty per offence and have a condition placed upon his registration prohibiting him from promoting &/or endorsing complementary medicines.

I should be grateful for your response.



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Garvan Institute $6,400 genetic test


The Garvan Institute’s Sydney based Genome.One lab has launched a new ‘whole genome sequencing’ test which is claimed to provide genetic insight into a person’s propensity to develop a range of serious diseases including heart conditions and cancer.

Costing $6,400 the genome sequencing also provides details on a subject’s response to 220 medications, with the fee including genetic counselling and a comprehensive health assessment.

Genome.One says the added insight provided by the genetic testing can “empower individuals to take control and more proactively manage their health”.

The health management service, GoNavigateTM, is delivered by Genome.One in partnership with Life First at St Vincent’s Clinic, Sydney.  See:and  https://oneome.com/

See also:  https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/retail-genetics



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Monash University SPHPM “Whack-a-mole” project 2017


Overview: The aim is to provide students with practical experience of the role of regulators in protecting the public from false and misleading therapeutic claims by product sponsors and health practitioners.

Why “Whack-a-mole”: Because, given deficiencies in the current regulatory system, no sooner does one miscreant get “whacked” than another (or the same one) pops up!

Hence the forthcoming seminar, “The Advertising of Therapeutic Goods and Services (and its regulation), Monash Law Chambers, Sept 8, 2017.

Methodology:  Evaluate the evidence for questionable claims made about therapeutic goods and services and, if appropriate, submit a complaint to the appropriate regulator.

More information about this project is available here.

Some examples of upheld complaints submitted by students last year are available below:

Feel free to submit URLs of questionable claims for the 2017 students to assess by leaving a reply (below) or emailing me direct: ken.harvey@medreach.com.au.

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Order of Australia Honour


Associate Professor Kenneth John HARVEY, Melbourne VIC 3004

For significant service to community health and the pharmaceutical industry through roles in developing guidelines for the ethical use of antibiotics. See also:

Associate Professor Ken Harvey (AM)

Public health campaigner Associate Professor Ken Harvey has been honoured for his leading role in improving antibiotic prescribing in Australia.

In the late 1970s, he was among a group of doctors working in Melbourne’s teaching hospitals increasingly concerned about the incidence of antibiotic-resistant micro-organisms and inappropriate prescribing.

It led to the creation of a working party, which produced what Professor Harvey describes as a “slim booklet” running to 30 pages.

“It was designed to fit into a hospital doctor’s white coat pocket”.

With the help of a small grant, it was handed out free of charge to resident medical officers working in Victoria.

Nearly 40 years later, the guidelines have been through 15 editions running to 30 chapters, with antibiotics and their continuing misuse recognised across medical profession as a global concern.

“I’m pleased and honoured. It is good to know you have made a difference,” says Professor Harvey.

“The guidelines were for the first time providing independent information about these drugs. [Given how far we have evolved], it has been hugely important. It also influence other areas of medical practice so that we have guidelines that go right across medicine.”

The honours citation for Professor Harvey refers to his “significant service” to the pharmaceutical industry.

And this reference — because of his reputation as a vociferous critic of the industry’s excesses — makes him chuckle.

“It’s a touch unusual I guess. I think quite a few of my colleagues would be surprised to hear that I had made a contribution.”

The industry itself has described him as an “agitator”, a tag that he is happy to accept.

Related: Ken Harvey Profile (Outrageous claims)

“It’s what public health is all about. You make your analysis. You find out what is wrong and then you have to jump up and down to get change.”

Yes, the pharmaceutical industry has improved. “Transparency and openness has got much better.”

But he says scrutiny of all those companies who make their dollars from advertising therapeutic goods — particularly those that make up the booming complementary medicine industry — has to continue.

He is now 73 and recovering from a recent hip replacement. But Professor Harvey doesn’t seem the retiring type. His work will continue, he says.

Part of his work involves inspiring a new generation of “agitators”.

Each year, he gets his public health students at Monash University to investigate the rich and strange variety of bogus health products marketed to the public.

Ostensibly, it’s to help these students understand how the regulatory system works in Australia.

But Professor Harvey puts it more eloquently: “They are about to embark on a ‘wack a mole’ project. There are still plenty of moles to wack.”


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Retail genetics

Harvey K, Diug B. Editorial: Retail genetics. Aust Prescr 2017; 40:86-71 Jun 2017

See also: Somogyi A, Phillips E. Genomic testing as a tool to optimise drug therapy. Aust Prescr 2017; 40:101-41 Jun 2017



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Kid’s vitamin gummies: unhealthy, poorly regulated and exploitative

See: https://theconversation.com/kids-vitamin-gummies-unhealthy-poorly-regulated-and-exploitative-76466.

Taken up by:

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Seminar: The Advertising of Therapeutic Goods and Services (and its regulation), Sept 8, 2017

In March 2016, a seminar on this topic attracted over 100 people to the Sydney University Health Law Centre. One outcome was a decision to hold a follow-up seminar in Melbourne in Sept-Oct 2017.

The 2017 seminar is being organised by the Monash Health Law and Society Group and the Monash School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine in association with Melbourne University Law School, Choice (the Australian Consumers’ Association), Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM) and the Foundation for Effective Markets and Governance (FEMAG).

Date: Sept 8, 2017

Venue: Monash Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, 3000

There have been significant developments since last year’s seminar. These include the:

Also, several relevant consultations by the Medical and Medical Devices Review including,

The program will include:

  • A case study involving multiple-regulators: the AMI-MWI-AMHC saga
  • Update on Medicines and Medical Devices Review implementation: complementary medicine regulation, therapeutic goods advertising, enhancing penalties and sanctions
  • Update on Chiropractor case study presented at the 2016 seminar
  • Problems with the regulation of stem cell therapy and its promotion.

The latest program can be downloaded here.

To register an expression of interest in attending please email:

Tania Richter
Project Officer, SPHPM

N.B. Participants attending will be limited to ensure good interaction.



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HAIAP-PHM ISC Meeting, Bangladesh, 15-16 May 2017

Members of the HAIAP-PHM International Steering Committee (ISC) met at Gonoshasthaya PHA, Savar, Bangladesh during May 15-16, 2017 to discuss the planning and agenda of the proposed November meeting.

Not all members of the ISC could attend due to problems in obtaining funding and visas. Those who attended were self-funded. Regrettably, due to Internet problems, other members of the ISC could not be linked in via Skype. Those present (from left to right in the above photo) were:

Dr. Mira Shiva, India (All India Drug Action Network); Dr. Manzur Kadir, Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK); Dr. Edelina P. Dela Paz (Delen), Health Action Information Network, Philippines (People’s Health Movement representative for PHM Global Steering Council); Dr. Ken Harvey, School of Public Health, Monash University, Australia; Dr. Laila Parveen, Gono Bishwabidyalay; Dr. Qasem Chowdhury, GK; Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury, GK; Shila Kaur, Health Action International Asia Pacific (HAIAP) Coordinator, Third World Network, Penang, Malaysia.

In addition: Md. Fazle Karim, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and Dr. Ishak Ali, GK attended.

It was decided that holding a major meeting on the theme of “Revive Health for All” in November 10-14, 2017 was too ambitious and this meeting should be postponed for later in 2018.

People were having difficulty obtaining funds for air-travel, PHM had no resources to commit, donor funding did not look promising and several people had committed to attend a Nutrition Conference with dates close by.

It was accepted that the proposed “Revive Health for All” conference, and the issues outlined, were still of great relevance but more time was required to finalise the planning and explore options for funding.

Instead, it was agreed that a HAIAP meeting would be take place at GK from November 10-12, 2017 concentrating on one of the issues previously identified: Ensuring Access to Affordable, Safe Quality Essential Medicines and their Rational Use.

There would be a focus on antibiotic resistance, the failure of a profit-orientated pharmaceutical system to meet the challenge of providing new antibiotics, the role of antibiotic guidelines and other educational initiatives, meeting the challenge of pharmaceutical promotion and a multi-country study on drug pricing. Relevant country stories would be solicited and presented (action-orientated initiatives that have made a difference).

The aim is to stimulate HAIAP members to further action, nurture younger health activists by promoting intergenerational exchange and identify underlying problems for placing on the agenda of a 2018 meeting.

Regrettably, HAIAP is unable to provide financial assistance for travel to Bangladesh. However, GK has committed to providing full hospitality for this meeting including airport pickup and drop, modest accommodation, all meals and AV facilities.

A full report of the ISC meeting is available here.


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TGA Consultation Submissions


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Vitamin company Swisse calls for self-regulation of complementary medicine advertising


Well they would say that wouldn’t they!

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