SensaSlim Saga Update

Last we left SensaSlim, it’s ever ambitious team of supporters was getting a dressing down on behalf of The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission securely ensconced within the Federal Court in NSW.

On July 20th, Justice Yates had, according to the ACCC website;

… made orders by consent granting leave for the ACCC to proceed against Sensaslim Australia Pty Ltd (Administrator Appointed) up to 27 July 2011. Orders are extended to 27 July 2011 that Foster, O’Brien and Adams be restrained from taking further steps to make representations regarding the efficacy of the Sensaslim Spray where the basis for the representation is a clinical trial or scientific report, unless the clinical trial was conducted and is the subject of a scientific report which has been published in a peer reviewed scientific journal.

SMH also ran a piece outlining the bans sought by the ACCC against these rather dishonest chaps headed up by one Peter Clarence Foster, one of the least credible exports from our nation girt by sea;

THE consumer watchdog is seeking a 20-year ban on the corporate life of serial conman Peter Foster, over his alleged misleading and deceptive conduct with the weight loss business, Sensaslim Australia.

Lengthy bans are also sought against fellow Sensaslim Spray proponents Peter Leslie O’Brien (15 years) and seven years for Adam Troy Adams. The ACCC has not sought to disqualify a former Sensaslim director, Michael Anthony Boyle from managing corporations, but is seeking a three year ban on him being involved  in businesses which have franchising characteristics. [….]

The ACCC alleged that Sensaslim made false or misleading representations about the profitability of the business to investors who bought franchises. Sensaslim had claimed that franchisees had the potential to earn $4000 a week after they invested $59,950, and there was a ”money back buy-back guarantee”.

The ACCC said there was not the potential to generate the earnings, there were no franchisees generating the projected earnings, and there was no guarantee of a refund. The ACCC also alleges false and misleading conduct by the use of testimonials of the clinical effectiveness of the spray ”when in fact no such [clinical] trial was conducted”, and the failure to disclose Mr Fosters’ involvement in the business.

The next piece of interest was published August 9th, in The Age’s Small Business section. Authorities move to dump conman’s weight-loss spray from market. At this point SensaSlim were eight days overdue in publishing the legally required warning about the action being taken against the company, on the front page of their website.

A HERBAL diet spray linked to notorious conman Peter Foster looks set to be taken off the market, six months after health authorities first received a complaint about it.

Last week, the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s complaints resolution panel called for SensaSlim to be removed from the register of therapeutic goods, which means the spray cannot be advertised or sold.

Executive officer of the panel, Judith Brimer, asked the TGA to cancel its listing after SensaSlim Australia failed to withdraw advertising that lacked approval. A spokeswoman for the TGA said it was considering the request. The panel’s call comes six months after Melbourne academic Ken Harvey first complained about the product, prompting SensaSlim Australia to launch a defamation case against him. [….]

On July 27, the ACCC won orders in the Federal Court for the company to change the front page of its website to inform visitors of the legal action against it. While the notice was required to be posted within five business days, it did not appear on the site yesterday.

Meanwhile, Dr Harvey continues to defend the defamation case launched against him by the company, which is seeking $800,000 damages. Dr Harvey said he hoped the case, which has cost him about $30,000 to date, would be dismissed this month. Supporters are raising money to cover his costs. More than 100 franchisees are believed to have paid $60,000 each to sell SensaSlim, which has sold for about $1200 a litre or $60 for a 50 millilitre bottle.

Their RTG listing is here for your perusal dear reader, the TGA Summary here. Yet, as we know there’s no joke about seasoned con men. The ACCC may get these critters off Australia’s back, reap some monies and give them some bad press overseas but in reality they’ll just keep singing in the hope of scamming the larger European market. A scroll back through some articles here gives a hint at how much energy they put into feigning disgust at having their good names tarnished and pointing to the (still) available ARTG certificate, on the Australian Weight Loss Challenge site. The “challenge” has grown from about four to thirteen participants in just over a month.

Last night a little birdie on Twitter asked if this was real. SensaSlim director files million dollar law suit against Dr. Ken Harvey. Well, yes it is true. But my, what a tantrum Peter O’Brien seems to have had;

In a writ filed in the Supreme Court of Queensland, Mr O’ Brien claimed that Dr Harvey had no grounds for calling for SensaSlim to be withdrawn from sale given that there are no safety issues over it.

“The TGA authorised SensaSlim for sale on the basis of its unique formulation and active ingredients,” Mr O’Brien said. “It is issued with a TGA Listing number approving it for sale  as a weight loss aid.”

The Sensaslim Solution formulation combines five of the most thoroughly researched weight loss ingredients over the past 30 years.   It uses all natural active components extracted from rare fruits and minerals, which together, act to stimulate the body’s natural fat burning processes, reduce cravings of sugar and carbohydrates, maintain energy metabolism, inhibit fat synthesis, increase fat oxidation, encourage lean muscle mass and decrease body weight.

Sensaslim also contains a natural analgesic which acts to desensitise taste receptors on the tongue.

“For any  product to be withdrawn from the market it has to be because of a safety issue, and Dr Harvey knew that,” Mr O’Brien said.

“He was attempting to create headlines and be mischievous and we are calling him to account.” he said. “He is a man pursuing a personal vendetta and is followed by a small group of people who pride themselves on being sceptics and cynics’. “It is one thing for him to disagree with our advertising, but it is completely outrageous to call for a product to be withdrawn from sale simply because he is against all things natural,”

Mr O’Brien said Dr Harvey was a “chronic complainer on the complementary healthcare industry who becomes louder and more vengeful and spiteful as he realises he becomes less relevant.”

“What Dr Harvey can’t tolerate is the growth in the natural nutrition and healthcare industries, at the cost of big pharmaceuticals,” Mr O’Brien said. […..]

Wait on, wait on. What sort of news agency is going to spruik a product and run a personal attack under a seemingly routine type headline? No comment from Dr. Harvey either, which is tacky given he consults and lectures on the various conflicts of interest that do plague pharmaceutical companies. It is entirely correct and proper for Dr. Harvey to call sham products to account as well as highlight the contributing flaws in Australian regulation. This does not equate to a conflict of interest born of bias toward pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Harvey is a man of impressive integrity who has worked in Australia and overseas to ensure consumers are able to access the drugs they need. He’s worked with local S.E. Asian NGO’s helping to lobby their own governments to introduce policies that enable the sort of access we take for granted as well as tackling the horrific reality of counterfeit medication.

This also had a familiar ring to it. Much like the earlier articles about the wonder spray, the expansive jockey story and the Thank you for suing us article written by a certain Peter O’Brien that had me corresponding with an editor from international.to. Or the claims of presenting these stunning clinical trial results to scientists at the 18th European Conference on Obesity in Turkey. I’d been reliably informed they were nowhere to be seen in Turkey. As I wrote back on July 6th.

Interestingly the Thank you for suing us ad piece and the Black Caviar jockey piece by Peter O’Brien have disappeared. Follow those links and you get a 404. The following day I raised concerns with the editor about an article headed, “Obesity scientists told of SensaSlim slimming spray that has the effect of ‘Fooling the Brain’ into Thinking You’re Not Hungry” and another headed “Four Twins, a Jockey and a sensational slimming spray talk Turkey”. I received no reply. Ironically, both these articles now deliver a 404 message also.

However the editor initially responded citing he’d never heard the claims I was making. Despite links provided about the missing evidence, complaints and accusations from Dr. Capehorn. Then when the proverbial hit the fan I received on June 16th;

Thanks for taking the time to provide more details…

Our role is to be objective and your point of view is valuable..  we will not take sides….

What was once a public interest story has certainly grown into something more now that there are court cases, TV segments and reports from customers ( good and bad )..

We will get back to you..  and I would need your permission to enable me to pass on your email to a reporter to pursue ?

All the best

But I never did hear back and don’t really see why I should have. That’s their call. As I pointed out in the prior article, international.to is owned by RogersDIGITAL a marketing company based in Australia. They have had a website overhaul since I last described the pseudo-psychological marketing lingo’ on their site. Presently they have a rather prominent: We publish news, press releases and advertising on websites owned and operated by our media group.

Which might well explain the far more honest footnote to Peter O’Brien’s latest rant on international.to

Editor Note.. This press release was created and submitted by Mr O’Brien. It is not news. It is not our editorial content . IT IS A PRESS RELEASE. It is for information purposes only. http://www.International.to publishes verified press releases upon application to http://www.NewsMediaReleases.com. As with any press release it is marked as such and is not intended as a report or coverage of an event or occurrence.

A press release, news release, media release, press statement or video release is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something ostensibly newsworthy. [….]

So, we can really only wait and see how much of this is a serious endeavour and how much is to maintain the ongoing song pitched to gullible buyers and presumably very angry franchisees.

In short is it just another last ditch push to make money from the sinking ship SensaSlim by coating the hull in fake credibility?

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About @advodiaboli
I'm not really a cast iron flying pig.

One Response to SensaSlim Saga Update

  1. Pingback: Oh, Oh, Oh, O’Brien of SensaSlim gives us more hanky panky « Losing In The Lucky Country

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