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.