A $15,000 BioCharger device was recently spruiked by celebrity chef Pete Evans who claimed it could treat a range of ailments, including COVID-19. “It’s programmed with about 1,000 different recipes, there’s one in there for the Wuhan coronavirus,” Evans said.
Peak medical groups have criticised Evans saying that claims this device could be used to treat coronavirus are baseless, ill-informed and dangerous.
Science-Based Medicine says, ‘BioCharger’s claims are too silly to take seriously. It’s based on fantasy, not science and at $15,000 it’s pretty expensive for a placebo’.
The TGA said it, ‘encourages anyone with concerns in relation to COVID-19 related claims being made about a therapeutic good to provide information via the online advertising complaint form‘. A Friends of Science in Medicine member has now submitted a formal complaint (AC-1S6DPV6J/2020) to the TGA.
It has also been suggested that celebrity chef Pete Evans should be reported to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) as his claims for the BioCharger device are in breach of Australian Consumer Law (Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) Schedule 2 s. 18, 29, 224, 232 and the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) s 137H). Prosecution of a similar matter by the ACCC in the Federal Court resulted in heavy fines on Fran Sheffield and Homeopathy Plus.
I have now referred this matter to the ACCC. It will be interesting to see which regulator will act, when and to what effect.
Update 24 April 2020
Following receipt of a number of complaints about the promotion of a ‘BioCharger’ device the TGA has fined Pete Evans’ company $25,200 for alleged COVID-19 advertising breaches.
Concern was expressed that the fine was less than the cost of two machines that Evans was flogging, was hardly a deterrent and the penalties available to the TGA are too low.
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