Complementary Medicines, Advertising Reform and the TGA

21 November, 2018

by Dr Ken Harvey, with an introduction by Ken Greatorex

To set the scene for those not familiar with the glacial machinations of Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration: Until recently in Australia we had a complaint process whereby Australia we had a complaint process whereby if you wanted to complain about the advertising of a particular listed medicine, you submitted. to the Complaints Resolution Panel. It was woefully under resourced, but it did its job, carried out inquiries then reported established breaches in conduct to the TGA. The TGA acted – sometimes.

Then things changed. Against the urging of such groups as The Australian Skeptics, Friends of Science in Medicine, Choice and other consumer advocates, the TGA became the body which dealt directly with such complaints. 

As one who attended and absorbed the excellent review from Professor Harvey and three of his students, the result of this change has been:

  • totally predictable
  • disappointing

 

(left to right: Mal Vickers, Kithmini Cooray, Mary Malek, Ken Harvey)

Speakers:

Discussion:

The audience did not agree that the ongoing advertising of ‘Bright Brains’, illustrated by Kithmini, had achieved compliance with the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code 2015. In short, they disagreed with the TGA outcome statement about this complaint. Read the rest of this entry »


Vyom Sharma, Doctor, Magician and Mentalist

17 July, 2018

     Dr Vyom Sharma

After gaining his medical degree in 2008, Vyom Sharma completed specialist training and currently works in Melbourne as a General Practitioner. However alongside his clinical work, he has carved out a career in show business.

As a magician and mentalist, he has performed live stage shows at the Sydney Opera House, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and was a grand finalist on Australia’s Got Talent.

His knowledge of medicine, combined with his experiences with the psychology of deception have afforded him a rare insight into the human experience of truth and persuasion. He explores the neuroscience of deception and beliefs as a regular Guest Lecturer at Monash University’s school of biological sciences.

He has debunked pseudoscientific therapies in the media, including Fairfax newspapers, Triple R radio and medical trade magazines.

Vyom Sharma will be our featured speaker at next Skeptics Café  (Monday August 20)

He will also appear at Australian Skeptics Annual Convention in Sydney over the weekend of October 13 & 14


At May Skeptics Café

22 May, 2018

We’re pleased to have been visited by Dr Pauli Ohukainen from Finland. He’s a cardiovascular research scientist from Finland working in Melbourne (Baker Institute) until June 1st. He’s also an avid skeptical activist with his own blog in Finnish with 7000 followers on Facebook, (which is not too bad in a small country of 5M), and he’s also active on Twitter, which is his international forum: https://twitter.com/POhukainen. He was keen to meet some skeptics while in Melbourne, and took “selfies” at May Skeptics Café with two of our distinguished members, Francesca Folk-Scolaro (L) and Elida Radig (R).


Review – Surfcoast Skepticamp 2018

3 April, 2018

It was a glorious, sunny day in Airey’s Inlet for the annual Skepticamp where we were privy to a range of fascinating talks to hone our critical thinking skills. For a $5 donation we were treated to a delicious, healthy lunch and many of us also took the opportunity to socialise over dinner at the nearby pub afterwards.

First up was Geelong Skeptics Society Co-founder and Speech Pathologist Zola Lawry who spoke about the importance of being skeptical about “Facilitated Communication”. Questions have been raised over who is actually communicating. Could it be the well-meaning facilitator rather than the severely disabled client? Zola presented the claims and the evidence for such cases as Anne McDonald of “Annie’s Coming Out” fame and her facilitator Rosemary Crossley. Read the rest of this entry »


Images from the Australian Skeptics Convention 2017

2 April, 2018

Apologies for the lateness of this posting – but I think you’ll agree – worth the wait.

From the very talented Mal Vickers: click on this link.

AUSTRALIAN SKEPTICS CONVENTION 2017 IMAGES


We’ll take this opportunity to announce (or remind you of) the early arrangements for the 2018 Convention. It will be in Sydney again, on the 13th and 14th of October.

We’ll provide you with more details and a direct link to the Convention site as they come to hand.


Regular Public Lectures, Workshops, etc.

1 April, 2018

Melbournians are fortunate to have access to many regular events which exist to stimulate inquiry and promote Science, Philosophy and Critical Thinking. These events are open to the public. They are mostly free.

Here are some of them.

ANZAAS Free Public Lectures: Monthly, with weeknight and date as advertised on the website http://www.anzaas.org.au/victoria/

ROYAL SOCIETY of VICTORIA Lecture Program: Fourth Thursday of each Month plus other events as advertised https://rsv.org.au/lecture-program/

UNIVERSITY of MELBOURNE Free Public Lectures: Several each month,  weeknights, early evenings as advertised.
http://events.unimelb.edu.au/all/free-public-lecture
Read the rest of this entry »


Skepticon 2017

9 May, 2017

Tickets are now available for Skepticon, the 33rd Australian Skeptics National Convention, November 2017

The Skeptical highlight of the year, our 33rd convention is being organised by Think Inc, and will be held on November 18-19, 2017, at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney.

This promises to be a great event, with speakers including: science media star Dr Karl; astronomer Prof Alan Duffy; YouTube super-debunker Captain Dissolution; comedian and MC Lawrence Leung; former naturopath and now critic of alt med Britt Hermes; doctor and TV personality Dr Brad McKay; award winning documentary maker Sonya Pemberton; Walkley award-winner journalist Kathy Marks; and doctor-cum-magician Dr Vyom Sharma.

More great speakers will be announced soon.

Tickets HERE