Late last year, a few of us from GC Skeptics went to the December Victorian Skeptics in the Cafe event and saw the anti-quack crusader, Ken Harvey, and his students present on his ongoing project "Whack-a-Mole".
This educational initiative requires students to investigate claims made by products or service providers with potentially "misleading" or "dubious" claims. Should the students find any breaches of legislation (i.e.: lack of evidence to support claims), a submission is made to the relevant regulatory body.
What we also discovered, a bill was put forward with a number of proposed changes to the TGA bill. Of greatest concern was the removal of pre-vetting advertising, non-transparent processes surrounding what happens if anyone breaches regulations, and the introduction of “permitted indications” that can be supported by traditional use. While there is some required text on packaging, no where does it require to state that these products (for the most part) are not in line with current medical and scientific knowledge.
The TGA was asking for submissions regarding these proposed changes and at the time of Ken’s presentation there were only two submissions, now there are 55. You can view the Gold Coast Skeptics’ and other submissions here.
Just last week there was a Civil Society Hearing on the TGA amendment bill with involvement from Ken, universities, Australian Skeptics and other consumer group organisations – we look forward to hearing the outcomes of this hearing.
Ken Harvey's Slides from Vic Skeptics Cafe: here