Late in 2011 the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia was caught out advertising a homeopathic “pain relief” cream from “Simply Flower Power” in a catalog after a complaint about was made to the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration.
When questioned by the TGA about the advertisement, the CAA initially argued that the law didn’t apply to them before asserting that the representation “Natural Pain Relief Cream that really works!” was “a statement of ‘mere puffery’ that has no balance or substance”.
The cream is manufactured by Simply Flower Power; operated by Jessica Read, a Chiropractor who identifies herself as a “holistic healer” who performs “Aura and Chakra Balancing” and “Crystal, Colour & Sound Healing”.
The TGA’s Complaint Resolution Panel, who systematically investigates complaints of misleading health claims, noted in their formal findings that they found the CAA’s argument to be “quite extraordinary” particularly because it was made by an organisation purportedly to be representing “healthcare professionals”.
While the CAA were keen to market the cream as something that “really works!”, the panel noted that the CAA was “in no way prepared to argue that the words were truthful or accurate”, and were explicitly concerned at the unwillingness of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia to acknowledge responsibility for the material they had published.
Since the publication of the advertisement, the CAA has ceased selling the product; the TGA has requested the CAA contact the parties who were provided with the misleading claims, provide evidence that they have withdrawn the misleading representations, and provide evidence that they have complied with the other sanctions imposed by the TGA.