ACA: Miracle Fruit or Fruity Marketing?

Another new miracle skin product suddenly appears on our retail shelves. Another uncritical product promotion gets a run on the ACA. There’s nothing new there, but this time ACA may have gone too far, by claiming that the product is TGA approved.

Sorry about all the acronyms in the opening splash. Just in case you’re not keeping up:

ACA = Channel Nine’s A Current Affair (It’s on between the news and Two and a Half Men.)

TGA = Therapeutic Goods Administration (Our thin line of government defense against medical quackery.)

I think we need to come up with a snappy name or acronym for that period of time between the introduction of a new miracle health product to our retail shelves, and the eventual release of data from clinical trials showing a distinct lack of the miraculous.

How about … marketer’s dreamtime? Pre-clinical flog time? Ignorance-is-bliss time? Trust-me-I’m-a-caring-kind-of-person-so-buy-this” time? What name should apply? I welcome your suggestions in the comments.

Is there a fruit or vegetable that hasn’t, at some stage, had some health giving benefit attributed to it? Did you know carrots can improve your eyesight? And alfalfa cures the pox? (Note to self: must improve research skills.)

Do the marketers of skin and health products really have our best interests at heart by bringing new products out so quickly?

Now it’s the turn of the pawpaw to be turned into a skin care product. The full weight of professional marketing is currently behind it, as seen on ACA, on Friday the 11th of March 2011. The segment can be viewed here.

Can you believe they made the Pythonesque claim of treating baldness? *head-desk*

I’m not sure, is this a baldness test or two guys hitting their heads on a desk?


So is there anything to this pawpaw skin cream? We must ask (based on past experience of similar products, and the all-too-obvious lack of science behind it): just what is the probability that it will work as claimed?

The TV segment on ACA included most of the red flags you’d expect from a dodgy here-today-gone-tomorrow product: testimonials, expert qualifications (i.e. “this all needs to be tested”, “it’s still early days”), the naturalistic fallacy and the obligatory backyard battler who turns out to be the product developer.

The segment (presumably for “balance”) includes a “a skeptic turned believer” (loud groan).

A quick note to ACA’s producers … if someone rates anecdotal evidence as more significant than scientific evidence, then you can’t call them a skeptic of any kind.

However let’s skip to the final moments of the segment, where ACA stated:

… and the Optiderma products have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

[Listen below: nine seconds of audio from the ACA show.]

I assume when ACA uses the word approve they simply mean that the TGA has let the manufacturer (Optiderma) put an Aust L label on their packaging. But this is NOT an endorsement of the product.

Aust L simply means:

  • The product is a listed product. It’s made the cut for things which can be sold in a pharmacy.
  • The manufacturers say the product is harmless.
  • The TGA are prepared to take the manufacturer’s word for this, but can’t be bothered doing any testing of their own.

This puts Optiderma products in the same group as sunscreens and many vitamin, mineral, herbal and homoeopathic products. Had the TGA actually tested the product and found that it worked, then Optiderma would be entitled to display the more stringently-applied label Aust R. This is the label given to validated prescription items and over-the counter products such as analgesics, cough and cold remedies and antiseptic creams.

The TGA’s explanation of the difference between Aust L and Aust R is here.

Over the years there have been many complaints to the TGA that the Aust L & R scheme is confusing to consumers of health products, but let’s leave that discussion for another time. It’s a whole, big, other can of worms.

What’s important is that the Aust L label identifies the product as one where the TGA does not check efficacy.

Dr Ken Harvey of Latrobe University’s School of Public Health found that the following Optiderma products have been permitted by the TGA to show Aust L on the label.

  • 175847 Optiderma Activated Healing Gel
  • 175848 Optiderma Burn Spray
  • 175849 Optiderma Eczema Cream

So what’s wrong with ACA claiming that Optiderma products are TGA approved?

Unscrupulous promoters look for trust to gain market share, and the TGA’s Aust L label is often exploited to imply government approval. In 2007 the law was changed to try and stamp out this practice.

Section 4(6)(b) of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code 2007 states:

Advertisements must not contain or imply endorsement by: (i) any government agency;

With just a little internet searching it’s not difficult to establish that the TGA are actually trying to enforce this law. (See this page on the TGA website and this 2008 TGA complaints panel decision.)

One problem remains: can the ACA segment be classified as an advertisement? I’ll leave that one for readers to decide, although I would point out that advertisements generally don’t contain critical assessment. And in that regard the pawpaw skin cream segment on ACA certainly qualifies.

So how does the selection and editing process work at ACA? I’m sure there are a huge number of organisations (charitable, educational, scientific and otherwise) who would like to be able to present material on ACA. Why do we get another dodgy skin cream with testimonials and no science?

Perhaps I’m being too hard on ACA. Perhaps the throwaway line about TGA approval was just that.

Unfortunately, ACA have misconstrued a TGA listing as an endorsement before. Their report on the FatBlaster pill earlier this year ended as follows.

….and Reducta has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration as a listed medicine.

[Listen below: five seconds of audio from the end of the ACA FatBlaster segment]

[Video: Watch the full FatBlaster ACA segment]

Where’s my magnifying glass? I think there may be some kind of pattern here.


Once again I’m hugely indebted to Dr Ken Harvey, whose tireless research made this post possible. Thanks also to someone who doesn’t want to be named. There’s nothing conspiratorial about it. They’re just shy. You know who you are.

46 Responses to ACA: Miracle Fruit or Fruity Marketing?

  1. Alison Marcus says:

    Well done! Amusing, and to the point.

    • Newman says:

      Whatever your view, Optiderma skin support actually does work. Be as sceptical as you like but it would be an idea to get out more & try products before you criticise. It’s Australian made too, so how bout a bit of support for an excellent local product…for once?

  2. Ty Buchanan says:

    Actually ACA is pushing two paw paw products. First, McArthur products which are very, very expensive. He must be laughing all the way to the bank. Second, Optiderma which offers the same range but cheaper. Note that both companies on the internet are completely sold out.

    Let’s see if ACA will have these products tested like the SCENAR probe – I mean a real medical evaluation. SCENAR is to be tested later this year.

  3. liz says:

    Actually, ACA is an enjoyable show, just like Today Tonight on 7, However I first saw Tom Mcarthur on Today tonight 6 months ago, Sadly in the same segment Optiderma products were shown! These are NOT Tom mcarthurs pawpaw related products, they are from another company, Like many viewers of ACA recently and Today Tonight 6 months ago I got sucked in like all the rest to ordering over $150 worth of Optiderma and Only Papya Products on line. I am very angry because I feel I was misled into buying the wrong products. For all of your information who ever may be reading, Tom Mcarthurs Products are not released yet as of the 7th April 2911 and will not be available until around the 9th May, however you can Pre order teh “Genuine” Tom Mcarthur products in advance from his website. The reason I am most angry, is becasue it was a struggle to scratch up the money to buy the Optiderma and Only Papya Products, and a few people I have let try my purchased products including family, are of the same oppinion as me, Those products none of them worked.
    My son had really bad sun burn and got a little temporary relief probably caused by the Oil of Cloves in the Burn spray, However it was limited relief about the same as you would get from a cold wet teabag. I was lead to believe from a staff member when I ordered that the Optiderma product would help psoriasis. and in our experience using “ALL of their products” none made any difference at all. I am glad I joined the Tom Mcarthur website mailing list because I got to be able to Pre Order the “real Tom Mcarthur products” in advance before the release date and before It went to air on both 9 and 7. Don’t get confused and order the wrong products, order directly from Tom Mcarthurs website.
    Google Tom Mcarthur and you will find it.

    • malvickers says:

      Hi Liz,
      You’re using the argument that (somehow) – the original is the best. But is it any better than anything that has gone before? What is the evidence? And is that objective, critically examined, scientific evidence?

      I hope you don’t mind me questioning you about this. This is a “skeptical” site after all.

      If there is one thing I know about medical products is that it’s very easy to get into very long, very dreary discussion about what happened to me; or my neighbor’s aunty from two doors down.

      I’ve had my own skin problems, however I appreciate that anecdotal evidence is of little value, for instance, how do you know that the clearing of a skin problem you (or your son) experienced is down to the application of a new, natural, wonder cream or your immune system suddenly, for no particular reason, recognizing and being able to fight off a particular skin fungus that had previously been troubling you? Was it good product or just coincidence, how can you tell?

      The paw paw product was being promoted as a baldness treatment, you don’t see that as laughable?

      Could I politely suggest that instead of splashing out on more expensive skin products that may or may not be of any value, that you consider spending a little (probably much less) on informing yourself about methods of critically examining therapeutic products. Two books I recommend are:
      Trick or Treatment, by Simon Singh
      Bad Medicine, by Dr Ben Goldacre

      “Don’t get confused and order the wrong products, order directly from Tom Mcarthurs website.”

      I’m not the slightest bit confused – I won’t be ordering anything until there is reasonable (non-anecdotal) evidence that it works.

    • Mary-Anne McGuinness says:

      Just wait and try good old Tom’s products if you think Optiderma and Only Papaya are useless. I’ve used all of his and they do not work for me or for my husband Are you aware that Tom Mcarthur is the largest single shareholder in Phoenix Eagle who make Only Papaya?

      • Elizabeth says:

        Hi Mary-Anne – I posted below yesterday but did not see your post at the time. Very interesting so I googled Phoenix Eagle Sure enough I clicked on About Us then on Our Early History – all about Tom McArthur and as you stated in the last two lines it says that Tom McArthur is the largest shareholder in Phoenix Eagle. I’m not sure if you are aware but I had a good look at the site. Under Advisory Team I clicked on Medical & Scientific Advisory Committee – up popped the names of James Fries AND Michael Woodward – Michael Woodward is the Professor Michael Woodward who appeared in the original TodayTonight story in October last year. To view this you can go to Conflict of interest???? Undisclosed!!!! Silly me I forgot that Tom Mcarthur is doing this because he just wants to help people – he’s not interested in money – yeah sure that’s as believable as is the claims made for the products currently on the market. Thank you to the volunteers on this site for giving us a voice.

  4. Pasulj says:

    GAH I just got an email from my work (in community pharmacy) and YES they want us to promote this utter crap.

    I’m a registered pharmacist, and academic, and a (new to the scene) skeptic. And GOD DAMN can I tell you – head offices, all over the pharmacy industry in Australia, want us to sell this kind of quackery. Its so sad, it makes me want to cry. For 5 years I put blood sweat and tears into my studies, and for what? To promote ill health? Pseudoscience? Be a dispensing monkey? Go against everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, they taught us in Uni about only using sound science and good evidence in the treatment of our patients.

    I can tell you that 99.9% of pharmacists I know refuse to recommend anything without evidence, in fact in my experience we all recommend against any quackery. It is the poor shop girls, who are “trained” by the reps from these companies for are fooled into thinking they’re helping patients patients by recommending these products, and the HOs that force this crap onto our shelves.

    This is what happens when your head office is full of non-practicing pharmacists, non-health professionals, and the odd pharmacist who has sold their soul to quckery for the big bucks. Indeed the fish does stink from the head.

    I am almost ashamed to admit that I am part of the profession who is mostly to blame for the supply of these kinds of goods. Hopefully the Australian Board of Pharmacy, and other regulatory agencies will open their eyes and stop this nonsense; it is next to impossible to do it at a shop level.

    Trust me, I’ll do my part in educating the new pharmacists in critical thinking and having the balls to tell patients not to buy this kind of crap. But that’s all I can do for now….

    • malvickers says:

      Very interesting indeed! Have you seen some of the work done by the Vic Skeptics on the 10:23 campaign? (Go back to the home blog page and keep pressing “Previous Entries”, found at the bottom of the page till you find the 10:23 posts, or use the search function on the right.) I’m afraid Australian pharmacies come in for a good deal of criticism for selling Homeopathy. Thus, I’m fascinated to hear from from a skeptical pharmacist.
      Are you local to Melbourne by any chance?

      • Pasulj says:

        Yes, I am. Like I said, we sell this bs not because we WANT to, but because we have to. The shops we work in, we don’t own. I hate explaining to people that its not my personal fault that we sell ear candles (or other pseudoscience), but I refuse to sell them due to their lack of efficacy and potential for harm. I have only ever met ONE pharmacist that “believes” in homeopathy, and they were trained in India (I dont know what their stanards are, but I can tell you that Monash is one of the leading pharmacy schools in the world and it is DRILLED into us that homeopathy = crap, along with a number of other groups of quackery)

        Something needs to be done in the industry, its not that simple (at least for us little guys in shop). I love pharmacy, I love being a pharmacist, helping people with good medical practice; BUT I hate that it has been corrupted by greed. I feel that a lot of pharmacists have given up the fight because of a lack of support…

    • Openminded says:

      I am a scientist also trained by Monash. I find your total closemindedness a failure on your behalf to apply critical thinking. Big pharmas have done the trials etc but rarely have the cured any diseases. Keep an open mind with what you might think is natural crap as there is a plethora of scientific evidence behind many if the ingredients used. Instead of blindly promoting only registered big pharma products, use the critical thinking you were taught to evaluate all products and all ingredients.

    • Flinders Biologics says:

      Trouble is mate most of what you learned at Uni is absolute obsolete rubbish, and the likes of never do an real research, or step out of your redundant text books, I work in Non Drug Biologics Immunotherapy research and use privately, paw paw as a carrier medium treated with a cold atmospheric plasma.
      Simply it slowly regrows my baldness and also is changing my grey hair black, and I have no intention of wasting my time commercialising the development
      I could use cucumber slightly higher water content, but like paw paw.
      This sites comments including yours smell of vested interest in seeing anything is rat bagged that doesn’t come from a test tube.

  5. Pasulj says:

    p.s. I did see the 10:23 campain and LOVED IT. Good work guys!!

    • malvickers says:

      Well thanks very much Pasulj, if that’s your real name:) If you’re in Melbourne you should come along to our meetings and make yourself known. I for one am interested in listening to a Pharmacist with ideas about stopping the sale of quack medicine.

      • Pasulj says:

        Will you be attending the cafe thing on Monday? I was thinking of coming… Who’s going to be speaking??

  6. malvickers says:

    Hi Pasulj, It’s the one night of the year we don’t have a speaker, Ken is putting on a trivia quiz, much like a pub quiz but with a skeptical bent. Its lots of fun, I’m sorry I’m not going to be able to make it however. For full details click on the events tab at the top of the page. Plenty of Vic Skeptics people will be there, click on the about tab to see some of the committee members.

  7. Monika says:

    You have opened my eyes.I stumbled across your site accidently and find it very interesting. I also saw ACA on McArthur’s products and Opiderm. I wanted to purchase the healing gel, that he swore by, to heal ulcers,sunspots,skin cancer, rashes.etc.Made contact with his site and all they tried to do was sell $100″s of skin care products and soaps.These were not the products I need.But they said they would do the the same thing. Since then I have taken notice of all labelling on medications that I have seen,being from a chemist or health food shop. I now see what you mean about the labelling.Most have AUST L on them ,and reading directions ,they carefully word their clams, ie This product may assist or may help! ?In comprassion to the AUST R products that you can buy over the counter.Unfortunetly My mother bought Opiderma and my daughter bought a range of MaArthurs products,more than a month ago and haven’t had any positive results from either.As someone else commented little old Tom must be laughing all the way to the bank.

    • malvickers says:

      Hi Monika,
      That’s great you’re taking an interest, I’m glad you found us. I think our current affairs television shows and our government regulator is letting Australian health consumers down badly. Consumers should be better informed as to which medicines have been properly tested for efficacy and which haven’t.

      You can’t really blame your mother. If people are getting poor information it’s not surprising they’re making poor choices. Thanks for the kind words.

    • Mary-Anne McGuinness says:

      I am wondering just how many of desperate and gullible people were influenced by the Today/Tonight show. I was sucked in and $120 later realised that I was a complete fool! I saw dozens of glowing testimonials on the McArthur site back in April. These were subsequently removed but not before they had thousands of pre-orders. vicskeptics has really opened my eyes.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Mcarthurs natural products is dodgey to say the least. Unfortunately thousands scammed including myself. I fell for it hook, line and sinker after viewing the very first report on Today Tonight on 5TH OCTOBER, 2010. If anyone can be bothered reading through that transcript it makes for very interesting reading. Opal A yeah sure!!! Not one ounce of that in the rubbish that they are currently flogging. I used it diligently for weeks – not one bit of difference other than to make my face feel dry and tight – very uncomfortable. As for my arthritis, sun spots etc still all there. Hives – wouldn’t even stop the itch. Found out from HFPA that they purchased the exclusive rights to manufacture products containing OPAL-A paw paw extract. Also that Mcarthurs Natural Products do not have the right to use the OPAL process and their products should not contain any OPAL-A or Optimised Fruit Extract – interesting!!!!! So many people, like myself, pre-ordered etc thinking we were getting the Opal-A as originally shown on Today Tonight. There is so much more that I have discovered about this dodgey company that are laughing all the way to the bank thanks to TodayTonight and unfortunately desperate and gullible people, myself included. I would never ever believe anything I see on that show again.

  9. Mary-Anne McGuinness says:

    I noticed on another site that Martin Roach, a spokesman for McArthur Natural Products, when defending the fact that some customers claim their product does not work states that “it may not work for some because of their blood or skin-type”. What next Martin – is the Moon and Sun in the wrong position and what does blood have to do with a topically applied cream?
    I believe in the Christmas Fairy too.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Well the TRUTH is certainly being revealed now!!! OPAL-A not one drop of it. Please check out this site where Janette Mcarthur states as such –

  11. Mary-Anne McGuinness says:

    One thing I HAVE learned is never ever ever place a pre-order,. In the case of McArthur Natural Products it was required that payment be made with the pre-order and ONLY by credit card. Unlike most other online orders in which the credit card is debited when the goods are dispatched McArthurs debited my account in April and sent the goods in August. For more than three months this fledgling company had the use of my money! Clever on their behalf but I question the ethics of this practice.

  12. Mary-Anne McGuinness says:

    The latest claims of this company are that 95% of customers have found the products cures everything from arthritis to ulcers, skin problems, baldness, bad backs, migraines and even dogs dermatitis (poor puppies).
    The irony is that this claim of 95% is made by virtue of their Facebook site. I and other friends have noticed that when an adverse comment is posted on this site it is either quickly deleted or smothered in abuse from “true believers”.
    Since all orders are placed via the internet and the company has access to their email addresses, if they are genuine why not conduct a true survey of ALL people who have bought their products. At least this would provide a true percentage of satisfied customers.
    Pigs might fly too but at least this would back up their fantastic claims.

  13. Trish says:

    Thanks for al of this information. I was just going to order Optiderma. They are good at selling false hope. Lots of miracle products out there. If papaya is so great why not just buy a real papaya and put it on your skin. You can also buy real paw paw.
    So many scam artists out there targeting desperate and gullible people with fancy advertising. There is a whole industry out there focusing on only this type of marketing. I would love to be the one to stop all of these unethical scam artists.

  14. Marty Roach says:

    Hi all, whilst the original article on A Current Affair was not on McArthur Natural Products the discussion has morphed in this direction, so i’m happy to answer any queries that arise or I can be contacted on 1300 309 105. Marty – McArthur Natural Products.

  15. optiderma just burnt my face; i applied before i went to sleep and next morning and since i aminagony .hopefully this will go and healin of sorts will happen

  16. Katie Goschnick says:

    Hi all, I received some McArthur Natural Products recently, and I love them. I wanted to move to more organic products, but found many of them over-priced and un-tested. I’m naturally a sceptic, so was very surprised with how well the Mcarthur facial creame worked. So well infact, that I’ve now purchased my second tub. In comparison to many other organic facial products, McArthurs creame is very competitive, and I have now recommended it to many family and friends. Cheers, KT.

  17. Cassie says:

    I absolutely love Tom McAuthur’s products and have been using them for about a year now. I have eczema and dermatitis and can honestly say that Tom’s products have improved the conditions by 100%! Even used the on my 18 month old (I contacted Tom first). I believe misuse of the soap and creams are to blame. Head to McArthur’s web site for tutorials. I found body cream useful for migraines and joint pain here. Did you know pawpaw enzymes are a natural tenderizer and eating pawpaw before a meal can aid digestion of proteins to convert them to essential and non- essential amino acids? I fond this out years ago as my digestive system was sluggish. Our grandparents knew this too! We are all different so of course this won’t help everybody. But if you go in being a skeptic, you’ll be quite surprised.

    • malvickers says:

      Hi Cassie,
      You’re essentially saying ‘but it worked for me’. There is a post about that phrase on this web site that I think you should read.

      How do you know that your skin wouldn’t have improved naturally without the use of the product?

      Although this post is now more than a year old and challenges those making claims in favour of the product to produce the scientific evidence showing that it’s effective – I’m not aware that any substantial evidence has been put forward.

      “…. if you go in being a skeptic, you’ll be quite surprised.”

      So…. you want me to give up critical thinking and just believe any old anecdote that’s put forward? As I’ve already said in this comment thread … “I won’t be ordering anything until there is reasonable (non-anecdotal) evidence that it works”.

      • Cassie says:

        Greetings Malvickers,
        Agreed “but it worked for me” is wearing thin, however it really did! I have a chronic respiratory condition which is controlled by numerous pharmaceutical prescription drugs. I have indeed come close to death a couple of times since age 3 so I take my meds religiously. This coupled with allergies (eczema, dermatitis, hayfever and migraine – all linked!) and a supressed immune system I do consider carefully what I use or do to myself. I have tried literally hundreds of creams, soaps, supplements and prescribed steroid creams (with all the nasty side effects). After 30 years of bombarding my body with modern medicine I’m starting to see the toll this has taken. Pharmaceutical medication is nothing more than a bandaid. Take this every day for 10 or so years, (which I have done) have complications so now take these to fix the side effects and so on. It is in the doctors and pharmaceutical companies best interest to keep us on the medication merry-go-round. Next time you visit your GP have a good look around the consultation room. The box of tissues, mouse pad, note pad and pen will all have a pharmaceutical name or product attached. The big drug companies actually reward GPs to prescribe their goods. Don’t get me wrong modern medicine has its place, but if I can manage various non-life threatening ailments naturally without damaging my body further I shall! As for the skeptic comment, if you use something believing it will work, then it will seem to because you convinced yourself it will- the power of positive thinking/mind over matter! I tried Toms cream thinking all the while ‘here we go ANOTHER MIRICLE CREAM’ almost negatively but open minded all the same. I do believe that not everybody will have spectacular results because we are all individuals. I can use Toms products but pawpaw sap burns my skin if not washed properly. I encourage those whom purchased Toms products and have had no real improvement to visit their website for correct use and application as it is vastly different to any other cream out there. Perhaps Mr Malvickers if you or one of your loved ones are in constant pain when the medical professionals end up shrugging their shoulders with vacant facial expressions, will you try an alternative with an open mind.

  18. Patrick says:

    Nice to see victorian skeptics have a donate page on the side there. Mmmm I’m a bit skeptical myself about whats going on with the whole website. But anyways Mcarthurs paw paw cream does seem to work it got rid of sun blemishes and spots which I got from years of working in the sun. But i guess all you skeptics will think I’m Tom sticking up for his products…. Have fun losers ;-)

  19. fitzroylush says:

    I have seen sales data for the Optiderma product and apart from a couple of huge months after the ACA piece it is now hardly selling anything – in the end if a product doesn’t work people will stop buying it.

  20. christiane Paule says:

    It is the same with all those berries miracles (Acai. Goji, etc….) no real scientific proof. There are all complete rubbish,but people are still wasting their money on them.

  21. Teri says:

    I’ve been using Tom’s products for over a year now and although I’m not looking to ‘cure’ anything, I just wanted to throw in my two cents. The creams make your skin feel like baby skin. If I put Tom’s cream on my face before going to bed, my skin is so soft in the morning that I have decided never to use anything else. Sometimes I don’t use it for a few days or a week or two and I can definitely tell the difference. I won’t use any other soap now. I’m down to the last of my soap and I’m anxiously waiting for a new delivery. Even if I’m only using the soap it still has an amazing way of making my skin smooth. I didn’t expect miracles but I’ve never used anything better. I’m in my fifties so I’ve tried a lot of different products over the years. I’m actually surprised that some people haven’t had any improvement with these products. To me it’s money well spent.

  22. baz says:

    i have been battling acute dermatitis for more than 30 years now iv used countless topical steroid cremes, and many natural cremes and ointments , this stuff works and is natural , unlike the steroid cremes which are not a cure they merely ease the sympoms at the cost i might add of the skin , after time it thins out so thin i can see blood vessels , im happy to use mcarthurs regardless of what a few skeptics might have to say

  23. malvickers says:

    To Baz and Teri,

    The above post has been up since March 2011. Enough time has passed for the results to come out from a rigorously conducted, placebo controlled clinical trial of this “miracle” cream. The original screening of the ACA segment said things like ‘….it’s still early days’. It’s no longer ‘early days’.

    Anecdotes don’t trump properly conducted, scientific, independent trials when it comes to deciding if a medical product is effective or not.

    If you don’t mind, I’d like to repeat the advice I gave to Liz:

    ” Could I politely suggest that instead of splashing out on more expensive skin products that may or may not be of any value, that you consider spending a little (probably much less) on informing yourself about methods of critically examining therapeutic products. Two books I recommend are:
    Trick or Treatment, by Simon Singh
    Bad Medicine, by Dr Ben Goldacre”

    Please note also, the post is really about a different topic and NOT specifically about the effectiveness (or not) of a particular skin cream, as has already been mentioned in this comment thread.

    • Manuel Laranjeira says:

      malvickers, like the majority of people are saying, they getting results from using Tom McArthur’s Products, I too an testify that these do work, I’ve been diagnosed with contact dermatitis over 16 years ago due to my work environment, and the only thing that helped clear my skin was being on cortezene 16 years and my skin being so thin from using it that I couldn’t even close my hands into a fist as knuccles joints would split onpen into sores also had to watch if I bumped them againest anything as they would split open….

      So for just about a year now I’ve been bringing in and using Tom’s creams and soaps for me and a few other friends and family members and we will keep using them for as long as they are available ..

      Yes we all know not everyones emmun systems are the same and results can verie from person to person….but in my case and that of my friends and family we will stick to Tom’s products as they are the only ones that gave us all positive results…

      Oh..!!… and I’m not even Australian or live in Australia…!!!…
      I’m Portuguese by the way and live across the other side of the pond …. in Sunny South Africa …

  24. Linda Blaik says:

    Well it is now 2013, time has past and the proof is in the pawpaw cream… Tom’s cream does work and it is about time all you skeptics got on board and gave Tom’s product the go.

    • malvickers says:

      Hi Linda,
      ”Could I politely suggest that instead of splashing out on more expensive skin products that may or may not be of any value, that you consider spending a little (probably much less) on informing yourself about methods of critically examining therapeutic products. Two books I recommend are:
      Trick or Treatment, by Simon Singh
      Bad Medicine, by Dr Ben Goldacre

      Please note also, the post is really about a different topic and NOT specifically about the effectiveness (or not) of a particular skin cream, as has already been mentioned in this comment thread.”

      I can copy/paste this as many times as you like :)

      • Linda says:

        I dont need to read your books…. I have had Tom’s cream first hand and they work. Did you see the programme last night on Today/Tonight. re Jake? If that is not proof than nothing is. Go Mcathur PawPaw Products.

  25. You still don’t seem to understand that no number of testimonials is an adequate substitution for a clinical trial. I personally don’t care what you spend your money on, and if you get positive results, you might not care whether it’s due to a pharmacological effect of the product or simply the placebo effect. However, basic scientific evidence is what is needed to convince a logical mind.

    However, it is offensive that a trusted organisation is willing to suspend critical thinking and its responsibility to the public when a business throws money at them. It is especially callous when the target market includes those suffering chronic or serious medical issues, because they are particularly vulnerable to unscrupulous charlatans selling miracles.

    To pass off an (unidentified) advertorial without critical examination as journalism, and to mislead their audience by stating that the “products have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration” when the TGA had not assessed the health claims (as a listed medicine, the TGA merely believes that based on its innocuous ingredients, it probably won’t hurt you – see, may breach industry guidelines, if not legislation. Regardless of the legal situation, ACA has certainly not discharged its civic duties as a good corporate citizen.

  26. wafarmer says:

    I am a skeptic or was until I tried an Opitiderma product for a condition which was treated with the recognized Big Pharma treatments for many months with no relief after 3 months the condition had cleared, coincidence? maybe however I have seen it used within the family to very good effect in most cases and no effect in a few so do we say just a fluke when it works and of course it is snake oil when it does not?.
    The burn treatment is brilliant when used as I do on minor weld burns I and those who have worked with me have been very surprised at its efficacy.
    So malvickers even Big Pharma medications don’t work in all cases do they and in quite a few cases have been down right nasty to say the least and in too many of these cases the purveyors of these products have had to be pushed very hard to admit that a product has problems.
    However being such a perceptive human being and seeing the fact that you already know that nobody would have derived any benefit from any product not approved by the vicskeptics why as a skeptic myself should I read a couple of books put up by some one who only seems able to repeat the same piece with a higher frequency rate than the ABC’s reruns.

  27. malvickers says:

    Hi wafarmer
    As a skeptic you are welcome to come along to our third Monday of the month talks, they are open to the public. There are also skeptic groups in WA if your user name is an indication of where you live. As a skeptic you’ll also be aware that we put evidence first, not anecdotes. Putting a label on a medication like “big pharma” or even “big farmer” is a bit pointless – the question is; is there high quality evidence (such as that found from placebo testing) that it works? Skepticisim is a process, there are no “vicsketptics approved products”, skeptics simply favour products that have been thoroughly tested and shown to work. I made the suggestion to read particular books to another commenter because I thought that might be helpful. Please note, the main point of the above post was to highlight the use of wording like “TGA approved” in advertising – which is actually illegal under the TGA’s regulations.

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