HomeopathyPlus to be reviewed by the TGA’s Secretary

A copy of the letter sent to the complainant

HomeopathyPlus is an online retail outlet for products and books about homeopathy; and advocates a number of dangerous concepts to the public under the guise of “informed choice’. Consumer protection groups have highlighted the blatant disregard for the health of Australians demonstrated by HomeopathyPlus’ advertisements in the past.

The latest news is an escalation because of Homeopath, Fran Sheffield’s refusal to adhere to legislation put in place to prevent Australians from being exposed to unbiased, or even fabricated information about the products they are considering to use on their own.

An investigation in to HomeopathyPlus’ unethical advertising practices was initiated after a complaint was registered with the TGA. The complaint was about an advertisement put up on HomeopathyPlus’ website by Fran Sheffield for a “homeopathic prevention for meningococcal disease”.

On the 16th of June 2011, that investigation, by the Therapeutic Goods Administrations’ Complaint Resolution Panel (TGACRP) determined that Fran Sheffield’s advertisement had breached ten sections of legislation.

Specifically, the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code Sections 4(1)(b), 4(2)(a), 4(2)(c), 4(2)(d), 4(2)(f), 4(2)(i), 4(4), 4(5), 5(2), 6 – See the TGACRP’s Determination

This includes the advertising of unrealistic expectations of a products’ effectiveness, abusing the trust of consumers, using language that could bring about fear or distress, and inadequate evidence being presented to support the claims made in the advertisement, despite being given time to both prepare and submit the evidence to support the claims made.

Fran Sheffield, the person responsible for the advertisement on HomeopathyPlus’ website, and the primary profiteer from the advertisement ignored the TGACRP requests to “Withdrawal of representations”, “Withdrawal of advertisement”, and to include a “Publication of a retraction” – None of these have been complied with.

Because of this, the complaint has now been referred to the TGACRP’s Secretary with the recommendation that the Fran Sheffield be ordered to comply with the requests made in the determination.

Manly Daily Submission: Unsupported claims about Homeopathy don’t go unnoticed

Fran Sheffield, operator of HomeopathyPlus.com.au has been handed down a raft of sanctions by the Therapeutic Goods Administrations’ Complaint Resolution Panel at a Meeting held 16 June 2011, over an advertisement on her website about a Homeopathic “Flu-Stop” product. The sanctions included a Withdrawal of representations, Withdrawal of advertisement, and a Publication of a retraction.

The TGA CRP found that the product advertisement:
– Did not contain balanced evidence,
– Did not contain adequate evidence for its clams,
– Were likely to arouse unwarranted expectations of the product,
– Abused the trust of consumers,
– Exploited the lack of knowledge of consumers,
– Illegally claimed it was safe,
– Did not present evidence in an accurate manner,
– Did not publish evidence that identified the researcher and financial sponsor,
– Was misleading in its portrayal of a comparison product,
– Referred to serious diseases and conditions without prior approval by the TGA, and
– Failed to include mandatory health warnings on the label of their product.

HomeopathyPlus.com.au

The Retraction that MUST be displayed

The website has 14 days to comply with the recommendations or the matter may be referred to the Secretary for further action. However, this isn’t the first time she’s fallen foul of the law. Despite fines of $55,000, in early 2010 Fran refused to comply with sanctions imposed by the TGA because she ‘disagreed’ with their findings.

The discussion of Homeopathy in the public has recently increased due to deaths in Australia including a cancer sufferer that featured on ABC’s Australia Story who was told to cease her conventional treatment, and a child who’s Homeopath parents refused to administer conventional treatment and attempted to treat the child’s skin disorder with Homeopathic Remedies.

Commercial Homeopathic Remedies are sold through many Health Food Shops and Pharmacies along the Northern beaches, despite Homeopaths insisting that this can not be done – as they claim that remedies are “made for the individual” to match their emotional state, and the medical history. Homeopaths also claim that by shaking an ingredient into a solvent like alcohol or water and diluting it over and over again, (most past the point where there is not a single molecule of the original ingredient) the water remembers what is described as a “vibration” from the original ingredient.

While most preparations include some kind of plant or animal such as wild duck liver or belladonna, some Homeopathic ingredients sold to consumers include the Berlin Wall, Dog Feces, Feline AIDS, and the Colour Indigo.

Despite convoluted descriptions of how a Homeopathic Preparation should be prepared, or handled repeated attempts to demonstrate an effect beyond placebo under robust methods of investigation have failed. It’s a point that some skeptics refer to as a PRATT – Point Raised A Thousand Times. It is well established that as more controls are introduced to prevent researcher, homeopath, or patient bias the apparent effect of Homeopathy swiftly disappears.

Skeptic activism has played a large role in bringing to light the flaws about Homeopathy, both in how Homeopaths  claim their remedies work, and in exposing the exploitation of low quality or irrelevant studies in an attempt to support their practice.

Skeptics argue that it wouldn’t matter if science understood how Homeopathy worked, or how the remedies should be made – If a patient were getting better it is something that can be measured, and it can measured against a placebo to determine it’s efficacy.

During a Lateline segment in 2010, the then Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Mark Butler said about the Therapeutic Goods Administration “The Australian community is entitled to expect that an advertising complaints system will be timely, transparent and have teeth and I’m not sure we have that at the moment.

We’re now in a position I hope in the near future – as I have indicated to those players – of publishing options for reform that we think will address all of those issues in one fell swoop.”

Skeptical Activists are still waiting for these reforms, but until then they’re promising to report more breaches they find to the TGA and also to the ACCC, and it’s through the ACCC they hope there will be more traction and willingness to ensure that those who are instilling wrong beliefs in to peoples’ minds are brought to justice.

You can learn more about what advertisements have been found to breach the Therapeutic Good Advertising Code at: http://www.tgacrp.com.au/index.cfm?pageID=13&displayYear=2011

Interesting things include:
Ion Bracelets,
Detox Foot Spas,
SensaSlim’s Weightloss Spray,
Ear Candles, and
Toothpaste products.

Homeopathy Plus / Fran Sheffield in more Hot Water

Fran Sheffield, operator of HomeopathyPlus.com.au has been handed down a raft of sanctions by the Therapeutic Goods Administrations’ Complaint Resolution Panel – Complaint 2011-05-004 Homeopathy Plus – at a Meeting held 16 June 2011, in relation to an Advertisement on her website about a “Flu-Stop” product.

The TGA CRP found that the product advertisement:

  1. Did not contain balanced evidence,
  2. Did not contain adequate evidence for its clams,
  3. Were likely to arouse unwarranted expectations of the product,
  4. Abused the trust of consumers,
  5. Exploited the lack of knowledge of consumers,
  6. Illegally claimed it was safe,
  7. Did not present evidence in an accurate manner,
  8. Did not publish evidence that identified the researcher and financial sponsor,
  9. Was misleading in its portrayal of a comparison product,
  10. Referred to serious diseases and conditions without prior approval by the TGA, and
  11. Failed to include mandatory health warnings on the label of their product.

The sanctions included a Withdrawal of representations, Withdrawal of advertisement, and a Publication of a retraction – the retraction must look like the one below:

HomeopathyPlus.com.au

The Retraction that MUST be displayed

Fran Sheffield now has 14 days to comply or the provisions of sub-regulations 42ZCAI(3) and (4) allow for the matter to be referred to the Secretary for further action.

However, this isn’t the first time she’s fallen foul of the law. In early 2010 Fran refused to comply with sanctions imposed by the TGA – It’s also likely given her past actions she won’t comply with these either.

She was interviewed by ABC’s Lateline at the time, where she positioned herself as the deciding party as to whether or not she had provided enough evidence to support the claims she made about Homeopathy. She made it clear that it was OK for her to refuse to adhere to the sanctions merely because she ‘disagreed’.

During the program Mark Butler, the Parliamentary Secretary of Health, announced that “The Australian community is entitled to expect that an advertising complaints system will be timely, transparent and have teeth”, and as a result of the revelations that a third of advertisers that had justified complaints failed to comply with the sanctions, Mr. Butler added:

We’re now in a position I hope in the near future – as I have indicated to those players – of publishing options for reform that we think will address all of those issues in one fell swoop.

I’ll be following up on that with the new Parliamentary Secretary of Health.

Having read the findings against HomeopathyPlus, I particularly loved Fran’s response! The CRP noted:

The advertiser expressed concern that the complaint “has not come from an unhappy or concerned consumer but from a person who openly boasts and brags on the Internet about this and similar complaints”,and that “The complainant appears to not understand the subject matter in question”.

The Panel “did not find that complaint to be vexatious or otherwise flawed in any way”; certainly this would be a problem if the complaint were an emotional tirade about homeopathy being silly, unscientific, and preposterous, if the complaint was not clear or if there was no evidence supporting the complaint – but The Panel noted that it was clear and supported by evidence. It was also systematic in pointing to legislation the Advertisement breached.
Amusingly, she attempted to discredit the complainant by calling in to question their understanding of the subject matter, but didn’t provide a reason why she suggested that was the case – just rhetoric. Lovely ad hominem.

The advertiser argued that the law relating to therapeutic goods in Australia was, in relation to homeopathic medicines,“the wrong tool for the wrong job”, and that “the fact that homoeopathy’s mode of action, principles and practices are completely different to those of conventional medicine means that those guidelines and regulations are often inappropriate for assessing homoeopathic information or homoeopathic products.”

It’s the same old “Science can’t measure my Woo” gambit.

If something works, it works. It’s measurable. It’s measurable regardless of the mode of action, or the principles, or the practices. The problem is that Homeopathy fails, and rather than accept she is mistaken, Fran decides that the investigation as to whether or not it works – is wrong. It could be the Dunning-Kruger effect, it could be outright denial, it could be stupidity.

Knowing she’s going to get done for her bullshit claims, Fran then went on the attack and indirectly threatens the Panel with legal action. She may say that’s not the case, but let’s look at what she says:

The advertiser stated that they had received legal advice to the effect that “any Company or regulatory body that endangers the lives of others by withholding or suppressing health-related information is guilty of a criminal act and risks being prosecuted accordingly” and asked that the Panel provide a statement as to “their position… in relation to this legal matter.”

I think it’s clear the legal recourse she wants to take is that the “suppression” of her nonsense endangers the lives of others, the irony being the very fact this information is spread is the cause of some of the problems children and adults alike are suffering, or indeed dying.

There would be no reason to ask The Panel for a statement on “their position”, if there was not some sort of intention to use the statement in a legal battle; which of course they would lose for being so blatantly wrong.

The media has been great in raising the profile of Homeopathy; people like Fran put their foot in their mouth with the nonsense that gets put out there through their websites.

There is no better deterrent to Homeopathy that its own advocates getting on Television and proselytizing.

I congratulate that kind of publicity.

Well done Fran Streisand, keep it up and keep smiling.

Rise of the Pastes: GSK vs Colgate-Palmolive

This appears on the Complaint Resolution Panels’ Complaint Register:

2011-02-043 and 2011-03-020 21/04/11 Sensodyne Rapid Relief Colgate-Palmolive Pty Ltd GlaxoSmithKline Australia Pty Ltd
Finding: INTERIM determination justified
Sections Found Justified: Code sections 4(1)(b), 4(2)(a), 4(2)(c), 4(4)
Sections Found Not Justified: None
Action: Withdraw advertisement; withdraw representations
2011-02-001 21/04/11 Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief GlaxoSmithKline Colgate Palmolive Pty Ltd
Finding: INTERIM determination justified
Sections Found Justified: Code section 4(2)(g), 4(2)(h)
Sections Found Not Justified: None
Action: Withdraw advertisement; withdraw representations

Who says Big Pharma don’t scrutinize each other?

Brauer ordered to withdraw “Hot Flush and Menopause Relief” advertisements

WRONG!

In a recently ruling by the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Complaints Resolution Panel (CRP), Brauer Natural Medicine – Australia’s largest distributor of Homeopathic Remedies has been handed down an order to cease certain claims about one of their products – the “Brauer Hot Flush and Menopause Relief”.

Section nine of the complaint revealed Brauer’s response for a request of their evidence, where they stated “the evidence for [the] product claims and indications consists solely of traditional homoeopathic evidence […]”. The findings reveal the truth about the evidence used to support Homeopathy as a product to be sold to the public.

The CRP noted that Brauer provided “an extensive array of evidence in support of the submission”, however the CRP recognized (in section 13) that “Traditional homeopathic evidence is not evidence that a product is efficacious in providing benefits such as the relief of menopause symptoms”.

As such, the CRP has since ordered Brauer to:

withdraw the unqualified representations that the advertised product is “for the relief of menopause symptoms and hot flushes associated with menopause” and “helps relieve common menopause symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, mood swings”

Brauer now need to inform all their distributors that their claims were unfounded, which is fantastic news – we may even see an end to this product line all together as a result of this ruling.

Skeptics in (or from) Australia: Contact your MP

Something has got to give.

I’m asking that we each take 15-30 minutes to put together a quick e-mail about Homoeopathy and send it to our local MPs – You can look up your local MP via the ABC’s “Find Your Local MP” webpage.

I recommend outlining the absurdity of the therapy, as some MPs may not be aware of Homoeopathy or may have been misinformed about what it is, what it contains, or the principles underpinning it.

It would be great time to include the fact that the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has drawn up a draft statement about Homoeopathy stating:

“it is unethical for health practitioners to treat patients using homeopathy, for the reason that homeopathy – as a medicine or procedure – has been shown not to be efficacious.”

I recommend outlining these key points:

  1. The proposed mechanism is scientifically implausible and unsubstantiated.
  2. The claimed efficacy is not substantiated by any robust study of homoeopathy.
  3. Systematic Reviews of Systematic Reviews of the evidence for Homoeopathy consistently find it is a product with no effect beyond placebo.

You may wish to bring up issues surrounding homoeopathy such as the harm that can be caused by turning a blind eye to non-efficacious treatments for conditions with potentially serious consequences. For instance, ailments like insomnia and snoring can lead to anxiety and depression disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Both of these can be treated with science-based medicine, yet it is common to find Homoeopathic Remedies for them – and now, even in supermarkets where staff are ill-equipped to inform customers as to what Homoeopathy is.

It may be worth pointing out that:

  • “positive” studies for Homoeopathy almost always comes from within the profession and are generally surveys of how people “feel” rather than actual trials of a treatment;
  • it is common for homoeopaths to cite literature in defence of Homoeopathy, however when scrutinized, they are investigations of poor quality or do not support homoeopathic principles at all;
  • these “positive” studies are treated counter to how science-based medicines are scrutinized; instead of being peer-reviewed by professionals who seek to uncover flaws in testing methodology to encourage best-practice, they are generally published in niche pseudo-journals (or books) with little to no professional credibility.

You may also wish to point out the success of the recent world-wide 1023 campaign launched by the Merseyside Skeptics Society to bring attention to Homoeopathy, and the 2010 conclusion by the Science and Technology Committee (From the UK House of Commons) that the evidence provided by homoeopaths did not support their own claims.

If you are open to it, offer your MP the opportunity to contact you for more information. Do not feel you *have* to answer questions you do not know the answer to; if you feel overwhelmed ask your MP to write an e-mail with their concerns so that you may address them appropriately. If needed, get in contact with someone who you think CAN give them the information they are looking for.

You SHOULD include what kind of OUTCOME you would like to see from your MP, this may be by asking your MP to:

  • Raise the issue at a Party Meeting,
  • Raise the issue with the relevant Minister, Shadow Minister or Portfolio Holder,
  • Discuss the issue with their colleagues, or
  • Request a change in party policy.

You may want to urge your MP to Move a Motion in parliament along the lines of:

National Health Care should be a service that provides only science-based treatments; taxpayers should not be required to pay for, or subsidise the costs of unproven or dis-proven therapies.

Who could reasonably argue against that?

You may decide to be specific, perhaps about the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which despite its comprehensive review will continue to accept products for AUST L listing under a flawed self-assessment programme even though – according to the TGA’s own data – 9 out of 10 products  don’t do what they say they can. [this is a lengthy subject]

And lastly, I recommend inviting your local MP to a local Skeptics in the Pub/Cafe/Meet-up/Event where they can engage in discussions regarding critical thinking, education, reason, and science. This can help in strengthening a relationship to work closer in skeptical activism or outreach campaigns in the future.

 

If you have some time after that, check out:
FISHBARREL – The Quick way to report Quacks!

SensaSlim Assets Frozen over Bogus research

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has won an order to freeze SensaSlim’s assets after a continuing investigation found evidence of fraud for  the research for their weight-loss spray. SensaSlim, which is allegedly an intercontinental research institute based in Geneva, claimed they had strong weight-loss results from 11,000 voluntary users of its spray.

The ACCC made its first move last week without notice to SensaSlim, effectively freezing the company’s account while it contained $282,000 after it demonstrated strong evidence of fraudulent conduct being engaged in by SensaSlim; including the allegation that the Geneva-based ‘Institute’ that had reportedly conducted the study was fictitious.

Australian newspaper “The Age” questioned SensaSlim about photographs that were allegedly SensaSlim executives – After the discovery that they were in fact medical practitioners at a Minnesota Lung Clinic, and questioning by The Age the photos were later changed.

The ACCC contends that it appears that SensaSlim has perpetrated a calculated fraud and had to date extracted some $6 million for ‘area managership’. As a result, SensaSlim’s were refused their cross-application for release of part of the funds.

Since the action taken by the ACCC against SensaSlim,  The Age has also revealed that law firm Slater and Gordon would also bring legal representation against SensaSlim, which could see SensaSlim facing a $4.2 million class action by more than 70 people for misleading them in to buying a franchise to sell the bogus “weight-loss” product.

A Brief Timeline

A more in-depth look at this time line is viewable at the Victorian Skeptics website.

September 2010

  • SensaSlim is listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).

January 2011

  • The CRP receives an anonymous complaint about SensaSlim.

March 2011

  • The CRP meets to consider the anonymous complaint lodged about SensaSlim. The determination is not favourable, but the CRP gives more time for SensaSlim to respond despite their attempts to contact them and subsequently does not publish their determination.
  • Dr Ken Harvey lodges a complaint with the CRP about SensaSlim.
  • The CRP publishes their determination on the anonymous complaint on their website. Within one hour the determination is removed from the CRP website after receiving representations from SensaSlim claiming that they had not received an invitation to respond to the allegations.
  • The CRP decides to withdraw the determination and give SensaSlim more time to respond.
  • SensaSlim demands that Dr. Harvey makes no further comment against them and threatens legal action.

April 2011

  • The Supreme Court of New South Wales acknowledges receipt of a Statement of Claim by SensaSlim Australia Pty Ltd against Dr. Harvey.
  • The CRP sets aside making determination on the Dr Ken Harvey complaint against SensaSlim as the CRP is unable to make determinations for products if there is current legal action.
  • A recent newsletter from SensaSlim to its distributors discusses the legal action against Dr Harvey:

Peter O’Brien didn’t accept such a fate but together with his lawyers found a way to defend the company. This defamation action, which could be in the courts for a year or two or even longer, basically gives an iron clad protection that nobody can raise a complaint against SensaSlim to the CRP and hurt us.

The Streisand Effect

The recent scrutiny of the company stems from a Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. SLAPP‘s are intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost and time of a legal defence until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

Because of the SLAPP, SensaSlim has invoked “The Streisand Effect“, so named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt in 2003 to suppress photographs of her residence (amongst 12,000 other residences) and sue the aerial photographer inadvertently generated further publicity – and as a result 420,000 more people visited the website.

A notable occurrence of libel abuse was in 2008 by the British Chiropractic Association against Simon Singh who criticising their activities in a column in The Guardian. The result was a filing of formal complaints of false advertising against more than 500 individual chiropractors within one 24 hour period, with one national chiropractic organisation ordering its members to take down their websites; and in April 2010, Simon Singh won his court appeal for the right to rely on the defence of fair comment. Two weeks later the BCA officially withdrew its lawsuit, ending the case.

While initially, SensaSlim had sanctions imposed against them after an anonymous report about their product,  recent legal representations by SensaSlim and against Dr. Ken Harvey to gain their product more shelf time have led to further investigations – and a lot of negative publicity.

Instead of accepting their demise for their fraud, SensaSlims’ insistence has now led to further scrutiny, their assets frozen, and legal action against them. It is likely they will lose more than they have made.

Australian Skeptics are taking pledges of financial support for Dr. Harvey, should that need arise. The latest information is made available at Australian Skeptics.

I highly recommend reading.

Therapeutic Merry-Go-Round

Last week the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) knocked back my submission to them about the EKEN PowerBand. (See: http://reportarort.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/submitted-eken-powerband/)

“Thank you for your continued interest in this matter.

We did refer the matter to the TGA (as I advised you previously). The power bands have been assessed by the TGA not to be therapeutic goods. Unless products such as these make claims for therapeutic use, they are not considered by the Complaints Resolution Panel to be within its jurisdiction. For this reason, this complaint will be referred to the ACCC. I will ask the ACCC to keep you informed.”

Having had waited a week with no response so far, I looked in to why PowerBalance was a different story.

It was, and wasn’t.

The TGA said the same thing to Robert Smallwood, who claimed to have submitted a complaint to them about PowerBalance: “Not a therapeutic device”.

Robert wrote to the TGA as part of their Transparency Review: http://www.tga.gov.au/pdf/consult/tga-transparency-review-submission-1012-robert-smallwood.pdf

Robert makes a point that is well-known, especially to those selling bogus products: The TGA fails to enforce its findings against everyone, including “complimentary” and “alternative” practitioners.

I suspect it may be the lack of information on EKEN’s website; PowerBalance were quite specific in their website, but EKEN hides behind the ignorance of its’ customers – preferring to allow them to guess what they do and how they work, rather than to explicitly explain the mechanism.

Subsequently, Dr. Ken Harvey was able to compel the TGA to investigate the claims by PowerBalance, and as a result the complaint was found generally found to be justified.

It was those same justified complaints by Ken Harvey that formed the basis for my own complaint to the TGA about EKEN’s PowerBand. Same claims of Flexibility, Endurance, Balance, and Strength – all bullshit.

So, it’s intriguing to know why the TGA followed through against PowerBalance, but is seemingly trying to keep away from prosecuting EKEN for their therapeutic claims.

So, since I’m waiting for a response from the ACCC, I might take a look at Phiten Australia till then.

 

By the way — PlaceboBand. Cheaper, and does what it says.
You can go here to buy one for only $2.00 + P&H

 

SkepticBros PlaceboBand

SkepticBros PlaceboBand

What’s the problem, TGA?

Earlier this week I submitted a complaint about the EKEN PowerBand, a product that is reported to give its users increased Endurance, Balance, Strength, and Flexibility.

To my surprise, I got a reply from the TGACRP that essentially meant that they had no control over them – because the product was not on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

Oddly enough, they were able to take action against PowerBalance late last year.
So, I responded with some clarification of what was in my complaint (as it appeared the referenced legislation was not investigated sufficiently).

Thank you for your response.

I refer to your E-Mail response to my complaint about the EKEN PowerBand, and the finding that because the product is not on the ARTG it does not fall under the jurisdiction of the CRP.

I refer back to the legislation specified within the complaint, Section 42DL(1)(g) of the Act that prohibits the publications of advertisements for therapeutic goods that are not included in the register.

Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 – Sect 42DL
(1) A person must not publish or broadcast an advertisement about therapeutic goods:
(g) that are not entered in the Register; or

Therefore, according to the Therapeutic Goods Act, does indeed fall within the jurisdiction of the TGACRP.

If you feel I am incorrect in my interpretation of the 42DL(1)(g), please advise on what grounds the TGACRP acknowledged the legitimacy of the complaint about PowerBalance (a similar product in design, claimed mechanism, and claimed benefit) for my reference.

For clear precedence of this legislation in practice, I refer to the recent findings of the TGACRP:
http://www.tgacrp.com.au/index.cfm?pageID=13&special=complaint_single&complaintID=1650

32. Section 42DL(1)(g) of the Act prohibits the publication of advertisements for therapeutic goods that are not included in the Register. The advertiser acknowledged that the wrist band product is not included in the Register and the Panel was of the view that the product was promoted for therapeutic use. The advertisements therefore breached section 42DL(1)(g) of the Act and the Panel found this aspect of the complaint justified.

Please advise me on the outcome of any further inquiry you may make.

Sincerely,

Bayani Mills

So, hopefully this time we’ll make some headway on having this product removed.

I eagerly await.

PulsePharmacy Follow-up

While admittedly quite late, I finally got around to writing up and sending off my response to the reply from PulsePharmacy’s Senior Buyer regarding Eken PowerBands, and packaged it up along with other nonsense products they are selling through a recent news article featuring CHOICE

My initial E-Mail sent to PulsePharmacy, and their reply can be found here.

Thanks for your response regarding Pulse Pharmacy’s continued support for Eken PowerBands.

Eken PowerBands are not TGA R (Registered), rather they are TGA L (Listed) and as such Eken does not need to meet any kind of Standard to be listed by the TGA that would lend ANY kind of credence to their product — Unfortunately, they must only *claim* they have evidence. There is NO requirement to present the evidence to scrutiny by the TGA.

Interesting though that you said they meet the TGA requirements; perhaps they have supplied you with the scientific evidence they will provide to the TGA when they are investigated?

There is no good supporting evidence for the claimed mechanism of Eken’s PowerBands, and the continued sale of them, as is endorsed by Pulse Pharmacy, poses serious questions regarding Pulse Pharmacy’s ethical commitment to it’s consumers; even more so when some of the “tests” used in videos to support their claims require deliberate fraud to occur.

Refer: http://revision3.com/scamschool/placebobands

Surely, you understand that as you operate under the prestige of the title “Pharmacy”, consumers — and more to the point, the sick, look to Pharmacies for evidence based treatments for whatever their ailement may be.

To say this is a once-off lapse in product research would be disingenuous, as in the same store there were magnetic bracelets being sold as “Wellness Bracelets” — again, no evidence to support the implication that the bracelet would encourage this vague “Wellness”. But, for consumers, perhaps those that are ignorant, gullible, or desperate; they will buy those products in the sincere belief that their lives may be improved.

Perhaps you’ve seen the recent article:

Pharmacies selling ‘quack’ health products, CHOICE investigation reveals
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/pharmacies-selling-quack-health-products-choice-investigation-reveals/story-e6frfku0-1226018381502#ixzz1GQRnn4Hb

I strongly encourage Pulse Pharmacy to discontinue the sale of, and distance itself from the advocacy of Eken’s PowerBands and fraudulent claims. Pharmacies should get back to being places that only sell evidenced-based medicine; not a gift shop selling people “what they want to buy”.

I would suggest that a serious look your entire range of products would be prudent; perhaps it would provide shelf-space for actual health products and may prevent legal action under the newly released Australian Consumer Laws. (ACL).

Regards,
Bayani Mills