8 November, 2017
by Ken Greatorex
Whack-a-Mole was a popular 1970s arcade game which consisted of repeatedly hitting cartoon moles on the head with a cartoon hammer. Moles nevertheless kept cropping up with undiminished energy more or less at random; so the term Whack-a-mole came to signify “a repetitious and futile task.”
Problems with Regulation of Therapeutic Goods
The situation regarding the regulation of therapeutic goods in Australia is unsatisfactory. The complaints process is frustrating, exhausting and often ineffectual. Complaints to the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) must be made against one product or service at a time. Because such complaints are almost invariably made by volunteers, and there is no financial incentive to complain, only a relatively tiny number of questionable products ever get put under the microscope.
An astonishing 87 % of such complaints have historically been upheld. Yet the offending companies rarely receive more than “a slap on the wrists”.
Read the rest of this entry »
18 May, 2012
by Ken Greatorex
This is a collection of odds, ends and newsy bits that have taken our attention in the last month.
- The Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne was as big an event as predicted. There was even an appearance by both militant Christians and Muslims. HERE. For Dick Gross’s review, see HERE
The GAC was big enough to have its own fringe, in fact. Our own April Skeptics Café was billed as just such an event, featuring the delightful Eugenie Scott. It may not have represented an enormous crowd for Ms Scott – she is much in demand internationally as a speaker – but it set a record for La Notte’s Club Room. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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 »
1 September, 2011
by Dr Mick Vagg, Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University School of Medicine & Pain Specialist at Barwon Health
This article has been reprinted from The Conversation website where it appeared on 1/9/2001.
If a manufacturer claimed its product was “clinically proven” and could relieve your symptoms of bloating and fatigue, would you believe it? What about if you were chronically or terminally ill and had tried almost everything else?
The latest audit of complementary therapies found as many as nine out of ten companies made misleading claims about their weight loss products, vitamins, lotions, pills and gadgets.
The release on Tuesday of the Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO) report on the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA)
performance as regulator of complementary medicine products makes for alarming reading. Read the rest of this entry »