Auskepcon 2012, Photos, Sunday

10 December, 2012

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Sunday’s Convention Photos

Sunday was another line up of excellent speakers, DJ Grothe, Dr Ken Harvey, Dr Rachael Dunlop, Stephen Mayne, Lawrence Leung, James “The Amazing” Randi and many more. Look carefully in this set of images for a certain life member and secretary of a state branch jamming with Paul Conroy on guitar.


Dr Ken Harvey Awarded CHOICE “Consumer Champion”

2 April, 2012

Congratulations to Dr Ken Harvey. The Australian Consumers Association has named Dr Ken Harvey as the CHOICE “Consumer Champion of 2012”.

It seems if there is a shonky medical product on sale, Dr Harvey knows about it and works tirelessly to highlight the problem to government authorities and the public at large; and to improve policy and regulation to reduce the harm and financial burden that shonky products impose on consumers.

The award is well deserved. The number of committees, policy groups and organisations on which Dr Harvey serves and is actively involved with is bewildering.

Most notably in the last twelve months, Dr Harvey was faced with a problem that every consumer advocate dreads facing. He was sued for defamation by the promoters of a slimming product called SensaSlim. He did not back down in his criticisms of the claims made for the product. Eventually Read the rest of this entry »


TGA, Dr Ken Harvey and SensaSlim News

6 March, 2012

by Mal Vickers

 OK - I admit I’ve been somewhat critical of the TGA in the past. However, in the spirit of fairness, when they do something right, I think I should say – hurrah!

As of the 29th of February, the TGA website announced:

The TGA will be making a final decision on the weight loss product, the SUPPREXXA Hunger Buster kit, after consideration of material provided by the sponsor, Chika Health Pty Ltd, in support of the claims made about the kit.

(Insert sound of clapping)

The promoter’s claims under scrutiny are that the product will:

Assist Weight Loss, Decrease Hunger, Fight Fatigue, Stimulate Fat Burn and Improve Energy

The promoters also say it should be used:

…in conjunction with a healthy, energy controlled diet and exercise program.

To me, this looks like bait and switch advertising. Potential customers are seduced by the weight loss message, however, it may be that the only way weight is lost is by putting in the hard work with the diet and exercise program. Could potential customers simply not buy the kit (thereby saving $50) and Read the rest of this entry »


Where Did the TGA Reforms Go?

29 December, 2011

by: Mal Vickers

I think everyone is aware of the problem – magnetic underlays, ear candles, homeopathy and bogus weight loss products, to name but a few examples of modern day snake oil; products that make therapeutic claims but are unsupported by evidence that they work. The government agency responsible for protecting consumers from the greed and self-interest of quack medical products, the Therapeutic Goods Agency (TGA) appears powerless to stop it.

For quite some time there have been calls for change and the government appeared to be listening. With the SensaSlim scandal, the deaths of Gloria Sam and Penelope Dingle and the astonishing 90% level of non-compliance found with a random check of the ARTG by the Auditor General, changes seemed inevitable.

What happened? Where did the expected reforms go?

The first week of December saw some strange goings-on at the TGA Read the rest of this entry »


Giving the Tiger Some Teeth – A Forum

20 October, 2011

It’s no secret that this site has been heavily involved in Alt Med issues recently – partly due to circumstance, and partly because we’ve taken some initiatives.

A great source of frustration is that statutory regulatory bodies like the Therapeutic Goods Administration can’t (or won’t) provide real consumer protection in ensuring that alternative medical products live up to their claims.

Vic Skeptics have arranged a forum to investigate this issue, on Wednesday evening 16th November at La Notte Restaurant in Carlton, featuring a distinguished panel:

Dr Stephen Basser

 Dr Ken Harvey

Dr Michael Vagg

Loretta Marron 

Further details, including how to book: HERE


The Pharmacy Guild Deal with Blackmores

19 October, 2011

by
Dr Ken Harvey

The Pharmacy Guild says its deal to promote Blackmores complementary medicines (CMs) has been withdrawn in view of “media reporting of the endorsement which was ill-informed and inflammatory”. My own view is that the deal itself was ill-informed and inflammatory. It involved an undisclosed payment by Blackmores to enable GuildCare dispensing software to prompt pharmacists entering prescriptions to on-sell Blackmores “Companion” products.

The four Guild-endorsed Blackmores products were a probiotic to be promoted with antibiotics, zinc with blood pressure drugs, coenzyme Q10 with vitamin D3 for statins and magnesium with proton pump inhibitors.

Dr Ken Harvey

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) and others have pointed out that there is no good evidence to support the routine use of these supplements with the prescription drugs targeted.

In addition, this practice would unnecessarily add to the “medication burden” experienced by many patients taking multiple drugs, including compliance difficulties, increased cost and potential drug interactions.

Finally, it presents ethical problems for GuildCare (who were recommending one brand only) and for individual pharmacists (who would benefit financially if they went along with prompts that may not be in their patient’s best interest).

Several polls have shown that Read the rest of this entry »


Cleaning up the Medicine Cupboard

19 July, 2011

This post is a mixed bag of alternative medicine news featuring the TGA, Dr Ken Harvey, magic bracelets, magic pills and magic spray.

Do you recall our story about the health giving jewellery that could be purchased from Qantas duty free? Dr Ken Harvey put in a complaint to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)’s Complaints Resolution Panel (CRP) about the same. The complaint was upheld; the CRP asked for the withdrawal of advertising.

click full size

A company called Alpha Flight Services Pty Ltd handles the sale of duty free items on Qantas flights.

Alpha Flight Services Pty Ltd also stated that, in response to the complaint, they had “acted promptly to withdraw all promotion of the products online” and had stopped selling the products.

In part the decision says:

The Panel was therefore satisfied that the advertisements contained many claims that had not been verified, were likely to arouse unwarranted expectations, and were misleading. These included the claims that the advertised products could improve heath, improve metabolism, improve or encourage blood circulation, expel toxins, reduce stress, improve sleep, lift alkaline levels in the body, neutralise acidic toxins, return the body to a natural state of balance, enhanced the immune system, reduce stress Read the rest of this entry »


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