Medical Observer Interview: Dr. Ken Harvey

Former editor of the Medical Journal of Australia and GP Dr Annette Katelaris interviews Dr. Ken Harvey.

Dr. Harvey originally graduated from the University of Melbourne. Initially specialising in infectious disease and medical microbiology Ken’s interest in antibiotic resistance led to a study of the forces that drive prescription. Ken moved to the School of Public Health at La Trobe University to continue his work on medicinal drug policy.

He now holds the position of Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Public Health at La Trobe.

INTERVIEW – CAMs regulation and pharmaceutical industry influence – Assoc Prof Ken Harvey – Obserations

Noted public health advocate Associate Professor Ken Harvey on what’s lacking in regulating complementary medicines, and the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on ‘the hand that writes the script’.

Ken talks about his extensive role in prodding Australia’s regulator of complementary medicines and shortfalls in the present system for regulating these “listed” therapeutic products. He is also asked about the personal impact of holding shonky products, advertising and ultimately – dishonest, unforgiving individuals – to account. Ken’s interest in information technology makes him a welcome source of advice to overhaul the TGA’s Electronic Listing Facility.

For a self confessed “stubborn bastard” in chasing blatant advertising breaches, it’s clear that Australian consumers are in Ken’s debt. Ken holds life membership of the Australian Consumers Association, Choice, and is also a member of their Policy Advisory Group. Dr. Harvey is Chair of Health Action International, Asia Pacific (HAIAP). He was a member of the WHO expert group that drafted their Ethical Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion. [22 page PDF]

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INTERVIEW AUDIO

Or direct download MP3 here. 21 min 13 sec. 21.4 MB
Listen or download file at chirbit.
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Interview Source – © Medical Observer, Sound Cloud. Published August 26th, 2013.

 

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Natasha Bita: Award winner to crisis spinner?

The TGA is concerned by assertions that a number of deaths resulted from influenza vaccinations. In fact there have been no recorded deaths from influenza vaccine in Australia.

– Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration respond to Natasha Bita’s article “linking” vaccination to fatality –

Natasha Bita published Virus in the system on May 28th, 2011.

The article presents an extended account of the heart wrenching story of Saba Button who suffered permanent brain damage due to the CSL Fluvax influenza vaccine, in April 2010. A combination of H1N1 and seasonal influenza strains Fluvax is tolerated very well by adults. However for children under five a febrile convulsion rate of 0.33% was later clearly established in the only state to involve this age group: Western Australia.

At the time the ABC reported hundreds of reactions. Of the 47 children taken to hospital, The West Australian reported 23 admissions. Saba Button was one such admission. Bita doesn’t provide these details, though to her credit does report that in 2009 fifteen kids under the age of 15 died after contracting swine flu. Each year between three and nine children die from influenza in Australia.

The situation in W. A. following the use of Fluvax on small children reflects a 2006 study in which 1 febrile convulsion was recorded in a sample of 272. What emerged as deeply concerning is that 2006 fever (not convulsion) trial data rates were 39.5%. Yet Fluvax manufacturer CSL informed the TGA of their 2005 trial data on fever. A much lower 22.5%. Public confidence in regulation, safety, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and ultimately use is vital. I’ve previously looked at the importance of holding CSL to account.

A primary reason is that such stories are fodder for anti-vaccination lobbyists. Public confidence in immunisation was at stake, and proper context was much needed. One glaring absence from Bita’s article was reinforcement of the importance of vaccination in preventing influenza. With the internet awash with dangerous anti-vaccination propaganda readers need to know that all vaccination schedules are of paramount importance.

The day Bita’s story was published anti-vaccination guru Meryl Dorey falsely claimed that “the skeptics” and Stop The AVN were “organising forces” to complain.

Meryl Dorey’s Yahoo! Twitter and Facebook libellous claims

I emailed Natasha that day seeking confirmation. After no reply I tried again on June 1st and CC’d The Australian online address. 16 days later I repeated this. Natasha eventually replied that no, she had received no complaints. Not one. However she had been away, she qualified. Strange, I thought. Was Bita suggesting that her absence equated to an inability to access emails, either later or indeed at any time?

I began to feel somewhat uneasy about Bita’s impartiality. Clearly she knew who Meryl Dorey was. She was the woman who had just hijacked her published account to falsely claim, “babies were being used as guinea pigs in a trial that was paid for by the drug companies involved.” Dorey was also harassing the Buttons by phone and had appointed herself the family’s unofficial conspiracy consultant.

Shortly after I’d finally received a reply from Natasha Bita she published an article on the very rare past occurrence of transverse myelitis following oral polio immunisation. Bita did little to quell the fear and uncertainty to follow in the wake of Virus in the system. The purpose of her piece was to report on the MJA article, A no-fault compensation scheme for serious adverse events attributed to vaccination published by Kelly, Looker and Isaccs. I was familiar with the article having referred to it myself almost three weeks earlier.

It’s inexcusable that Australia lacks such a scheme when we note Germany began theirs in 1961 and across the Tasman no-fault compensation has been a reality since 1978. Seventeen other nations have a scheme that relies upon WHO criteria for Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI). It is of even greater relevance in Australia because arguments for its implementation rely upon factors anti-vaccination lobbyists deny. Firstly that vaccination provides immunity and secondly the principle of herd immunity.

The authors write:

Any person who is injured while helping to protect the community — for instance, by contributing to herd immunity, such that there are sufficiently many people immunised to prevent widespread disease transmission within the community — should not bear the consequences of injury alone. In essence, the community owes a debt of gratitude to that person.

Natasha Bita, whether consciously or not, fed the anti-vaccination machine. The piece firmed her position as a journalist lacking in scientific literacy or having a grasp of risk-benefit ratios. She belittles the term “adverse reaction” and leaves the most crucial fact that Australia’s current inactivated polio virus vaccine carries no such risk, until the last few words. In a poorly written piece she completely misses the reality that Australia’s vaccine injury chic groupies will not back this scheme, have never mentioned it and deny the merit raised by Kelly, Looker and Isaacs.

When Virus in the system won Natasha Bita a Walkley for Sustained Coverage Of An Issue Or Event, she was embraced totally by the Dark Side. Her appearance on conspiracy and vaccine denialist site The Refusers perhaps underscored just how important a few lines reminding parents that vaccines save lives can be.

On August 3rd, as Queensland mum Katrina Day lay fighting for her life against influenza, Natasha Bita published a fraudulent article falsely “linking” 10 deaths to influenza vaccines. Bita ignored the TGA warning on interpretation of data. The article highlights how dangerous it is to allow sensation-seeking journalists to consult such information. Her headline outs her as unconscionable and callous as she proceeds to ignore any difference between correlation and causation.

Bita writes misleadingly:

TEN deaths have been linked to the nation’s flu immunisation program since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, including elderly patients and unborn babies.

The CSL flu vaccine, Panvax – which taxpayers spent $131 million stockpiling for the 2009 swine flu outbreak – triggered 1716 adverse-event reports, including seven deaths.

Whilst it is well understood that seasonal influenza vaccines will not include all circulating strains (meaning one may still catch influenza) she offers:

The Therapeutic Goods Administration database of adverse events, made public this week, lists the death of a grandmother who caught the flu after vaccination last year.

This is exactly the problem faced by VAERS in the USA, which is set to be superseded. Events are reported so that trends will be picked up and viable research launched in response to perceived problems. Nonethelesss all events remain on the database. Here we have an apparent award winning journalist reporting 10 deaths “linked” to ‘flu vaccines, whilst the total is actually zero. Visitors to TGA’s Database of Adverse Event Notifications are met with:

Her article drew the following response on the same day from the TGA:

TGA is concerned by a media story that may mislead consumers and could potentially discourage them from receiving influenza vaccinations.

Vaccinations play an important role in the prevention of diseases such as influenza, which can be life threatening in some patient groups. […]

The first line of text on the Database of Adverse Event Notifications states that: An Adverse Event does not mean that the medicine is the cause of the adverse event.

The TGA is concerned by assertions that a number of deaths resulted from influenza vaccinations. In fact there have been no recorded deaths from influenza vaccine in Australia. […]

To my knowledge Natasha Bita is yet to publish a retraction, explanation or apology. On August 27th it was reported that Katrina Day had passed away after falling into a coma. The 38 year old leaves behind four children and a husband.

Yesterday new directions for the CDC were reported in Flu Creates High Risk Of Death In Children With Neurological Problems:

A disproportionately high number of children with neurologic disorders died from influenza-related complications during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, according to a study by scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report in the journal Pediatrics underscores the importance of influenza vaccination to protect children with neurologic disorders. CDC is joining with the American Academy of Pediatrics, Families Fighting Flu and Family Voices to spread the message about the importance of influenza vaccination and treatment in these children.

Influenza kills and vaccination saves lives. For certain groups this is a very real decision arising every year. In very, very rare cases adverse reactions occur. To date in Australia no fatalities have been conclusively linked to influenza vaccines, including during the CSL debacle.

It’s a shame that so-called “consumer editor” Natasha Bita has to mislead her readers to suit her own agenda.

Advanced Medical Institute: The “unconscionable conduct” continues

In a nation awash with health scams that pitch themselves as natural alternatives to medicine, it’s less common to find scams that position themselves as “medical”.

Even further apart are the medical tricks that prey upon vulnerable members of the public, such as Dr. Death Sartori. Or those that position themselves in a predatory manner, ready to strike when average Aussies suddenly find themselves vulnerable and in unfamiliar territory.

This definition easily applies to the one third of Aussie men aged over 50 who deal with sexual dysfunction or erectile dysfunction every year.

Enter Advanced Medical Institute whose defence against The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for “false and misleading” conduct goes back at least to 2003. The man behind the scam is Soviet Era trained doctor, Ukrainian Jack Vaisman, unregistered in Australia. He apparently also earned a PhD from the USA which enables his title as “Doctor” to get a misleading airing.

Another company he earlier owned, On Clinic led Professor David Handelsman head of andrology at Concord Hospital’s ANZAC Research Institute to remark under oath in 2009:

I’ve got to say, one of the most scarifying experiences as a medical practitioner I’ve had [was] seeing just how low quality this sort of medical care can be,” he said. ”It really shouldn’t occur in Australia in the 21st century … It goes back to a pre-thalidomide type of regulatory standards.

Professor Handelsman was referring to his mid 1990’s encounter with Vaisman. At that time Professor Handelsman was sitting on a Health Care Complaints Commission inquiry into On Clinic, called by the NSW Government. In 1996 the company pleaded guilty to charges of illegally importing individual constituents of Vaisman’s penile injection concoction. Each component was unregistered with the TGA, mixed in unregulated conditions then provided to patients with a syringe and instructions.

In March 2003 another company Vaisman (below) had acquired, Australian Momentum Health Pty Ltd, was convicted of supplying unregistered therapeutic goods. Even before AMI kicked off the last person Aussies needed dealing with male sexual dysfunction was Jack Vaisman.

Advanced Medical Institute gamble on blokes being too embarrassed to seek recompense for ineffective and outrageously priced off label use of dangerous or common and cheap medications. These are sold under long term contracts costing thousands of dollars in a practice described in 2009 as “pernicious, nasty and unethical”.

Of serious concern also is that erectile dysfunction may be an indicator of diabetes, kidney dysfunction, drug interaction, neuroses, neurological disorders, blood pressure irregularities or cardiovascular disease, prostate problems, penile conditions and other chronic conditions.

By hitting below the belt as it were with the famous “Longer Lasting Sex” advertisements, Vaisman was both targetting a symptom in older men and appealing to vanity or anxiety in younger men. A phone call was all it took.

Clearly, as the most cursory checkup – for example taking BP or physical examination – cannot take place over the phone, patient health wasn’t, and still isn’t part of the deal. This practice of “consulting”, diagnosing and prescribing medication ensuring locked in contracts over the phone at break neck, Gish Galloping speed, was the subject of a House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing on August 25th, 2009. The litany of bogus science, cruel treatment and vile scheming is as extensive as the witnesses are impressive.

A lively exchange took place the next day between 2UE’s Mike Carlton, self appointed director of the deceptively named Australian Centre for Sexual Health, Richard Doyle and Jack Vaisman. An AMI shareholder Doyle (who also acted as Vaisman’s legal defence) is close to hilarious, suggesting everyone else is stupid for not keeping up with the latest science, including a remarkable study (not cited) showing that a phone call is superior to an actual consultation. Vaisman himself must be remembering a different inquiry.

You may grab the short MP3 here or listen below:

Ian Turpie admitted in 2006 he had lied about AMI “advanced technology” nasal spray. Vaisman had raged “Who gives a f**k?”, when AMI’s General Manager had asked if the advertisement was indeed a sham. The spray contains apomorphine, a drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease, and has been shown a dismal alternative to traditional solutions such as Viagra. AMI or it’s doctors did not advise clients of the superior alternatives.

Apomorphine is deemed ineffective by over 70% of doctors and it’s use for erectile dysfunction has been largely discontinued. In fact in cases that AMI would attract it is contraindicated. It’s mode of action works by increasing desire – not improving erectile function. In any case it is not worth thousands of dollars.

Vaisman was getting away with breaching TGA laws that render his spray a second-line therapy only if commercial alternatives are not available. Still, TGA impotency is hard to miss over the 20 or so years Vaisman has scammed Aussies. His “compounded products/prescriptions” came under TGA regulations that have exempted him from having to run any clinical trials.

Kelly Burke wrote in November 2009 following the report released by the Standing Committee on Health and Ageing:

By AMI’s figures, about 15 million nasal sprays, lozenges and sundry potions have been sold to the gullible and desperate over a decade. Yet not a single one has been subject to the administration’s quality control and safety requirements.

Vaisman has been permitted to exploit a regulation that allows doctors to prescribe individually tailored medications for patients for whom no alternative effective treatment is commercially available. […]

The vague wording of the National Policy for Technology-based Patient Consultations also needs to be tightened. […]

Close the Therapeutic Goods Administration loophole and tighten the telemedicine regulations as proposed in the report, and Australians will be able to wave goodbye to the screaming billboards, excruciating radio ads and tacky late-night television campaigns. And Jack Vaisman will be out of business.

By 2010 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had taken an new interest, raiding Vaisman’s offices in February. In December 2010 the same day the ACCC began legal proceedings against AMI, Vaisman placed the company into voluntary administration. The ACCC had launched proceedings against Vaisman, Advanced Medical Institute Pty Ltd, AMI Australia Holdings Pty Ltd, and two doctors.

On June 9th, 2011 The Brisbane Times reported:

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has started fresh proceedings in the Federal Court alleging that the company, famous for its billboards and radio advertisements promoting ”longer-lasting sex”, has failed to inform its customers that it is insolvent, and may not be able to provide medication for which some of them paid thousands of dollars.

AMI had continued trading since the time it went into voluntary administration. In a shifty move the business was sold to NRM Corporation Pty Ltd and NRM Trading Pty Ltd [collectively NRM], and very shortly after went into voluntary liquidation. NRM continues to conduct the AMI business.

The Australian Consumer Law (Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010) had Unfair Contract Terms provision added in July 2010. This has allowed the ACCC to pursue a case against AMI for alleged unconscionable conduct. This is a significant move in consumer protection.

Nasty, deplorable, pernicious, predatory and coercive were the terms used during the House of Representatives Standing Committee inquiry into Vaisman’s conduct. His abuse of clients from 17 to 87 years of age is despicable. Unconscionable Conduct sounds about right.

The ACCC reported on it’s website last September that the Federal Court had granted orders to add NRM as respondents in the ACCC case against the AMI for unconscionable conduct and granted leave for the ACCC to pursue action “against the AMI companies in liquidation”:

The ACCC alleges that AMI engaged in unconscionable conduct in breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and NRM is engaging in or proposing to engage in unconscionable conduct in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.  The ACCC also alleges that Dr Lonergan was knowingly concerned in AMI’s conduct and Mr Vaisman being a former director of AMI and a current director of NRM was and is knowingly concerned in the conduct of those respondents.

The ACCC further alleges that NRM is in breach of the Australian Consumer Law by entering into long-term agreements for the treatment of male sexual dysfunction which contain unfair contract terms in relation to the termination of a contract.

Incredibly, so it came to pass. Under Vaisman’s shady direction NRM took “control” of AMI and continued to lure customers into unconscionable long term non efficacious rip off contracts with zero regard for consumer health.

You may have noticed the shift from Sniff and Stiff the piano playing penises on late night TV to the Genie who magically cranks up libido using a strip on the tongue. As noted by genuine experts in 2009, these advertisements are “destructive… a carefully constructed legal fiction.”

UPDATE: On April 22nd 2015 the ACCC reported that the Federal Court found Advanced Medical Institute had engaged in unconscionable conduct. The media release (MR 63/15) reads in part:

In his judgment, Justice North said “It is immoral to seek to harness the fears and anxieties of men suffering from ED [erectile dysfunction] or PE [premature ejaculation] for the purpose of selling medical treatments. To target the patient’s vulnerability in this way is to use an unfair tactic and that is a possible marker of unconscionable conduct”.

Justice North also stated “The technique of frightening men by telling them of the dire adverse consequences of not agreeing to treatment and assuring them that the treatment was effective was part of the business system of AMI and NRM. It was formulated by management and imparted in an organised fashion through scripts and training sessions.”

His Honour also found that NRM further breached the Australian Consumer Law by entering into long-term agreements for the treatment which contained unfair contract terms in relation to the termination of a contract.

The Court declared that the conduct of the respondents was unconscionable and made orders:

  • requiring that NRM compensate a number of the patients whose evidence was considered by the Court
  • permanently restraining NRM from:
    • making agreements with a patient or in respect of the supply of medications for the treatment of male sexual dysfunction unless the patient has a consultation with a qualified medical practitioner
    • making any statement about the efficacy of NRM treatments or the patient’s need for those treatments unless that statement is made by a qualified medical practitioner
    • making an agreement with a patient for the supply of medications or medical services for the treatment of male sexual dysfunction without providing a written statement of the terms of the agreement and termination rights;
    • making an agreement with a patient for the supply of medications or medical services for the treatment of male sexual dysfunction unless that agreement has a cooling off period and can be terminated by giving 14 days’ notice.
  • restraining Mr Vaisman from continuing his main role in the business of NRM which was involved in the unconscionable conduct for a period of seven years
  • requiring corrective advertising.
  • For further enquiries contact the Media Team on 1300 138 917

END UPDATE

It also emerged in a January 2011 article in The Age Business section, that a “silent partner” in this failed venture is behind Astarra Strategic Fund, which resulted in Australia’s largest superannuation theft. In fact the “partner” is a network of “dodgy brokers” headed up by John Flader the supposed master swindler of the Astarra theft.

Meanwhile the AMI swindle rolls on. The last notable action involving AMI was a directions hearing in Melbourne in October 2011. A feature of the pre NRM AMI if you will, was the inability for customers to cancel their contract until they’d tried every single treatment AMI could dream up. Whilst boasting high success and ensuring that every unsatisfied customer received a full refund, the reality was virtual theft from customer bank accounts.

The only way to stop AMI withdrawing money from an account is to have the account closed and another opened with new details.

Recently AMI wheeled out a Debt Collection department. Their job is to chase up clients who still “owed money” on the futile contracts before AMI went into voluntary liquidation. The problem here is any liabilities accrued by AMI then become those of the liquidator. Not AMI and certainly not NRM.

Despite “NRM Corporation Trading As AMI” actually not being liable for any so-called contract debts the threats to “go legal” and destroy any non-compliant customer credit ratings is standard. For 15% of the outrageous contract total NRM will allow clients off the hook. But only if clients bring up the possibility first, or happen to laugh heartily down the phone at NRM’s new take on post liquidation liability. They will not inform customers who don’t raise dissent. From the ACCC site:

NRM patients are required to provide 30 days’ written notice to NRM to terminate the contract and must also pay a number of fees including a fixed administrative fee of 15 per cent of the original contract price. The ACCC alleges that each of the fees had the effect of penalising a consumer who gave notice of termination and therefore causing a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights under the contract.

There are cases where clients – who are in fact patients – eventually consult their GP and then a urologist, cardiologist, oncologist or another specialist. Information is passed to AMI specifically stating they can do nothing to improve the condition. Indeed many “treatments” are dangerous and have exacerbated serious medical problems for months. AMI go through the motions of ensuring a refund for expenses paid. They have been known to then debit bank accounts to the tune of the total contract cost.

Of course, there is no written contract that clients sign outlining any of these eventualities. The famed refunds are a scam from day one because they do not exist. There simply is no document wherein lies any customer contract. Clients should remember this in the event of AMI Debt Collectors calling to terrify. You are thus still waiting on the official contract.

If clients have been clever enough to realise the scam and ditch their bank account AMI Debt collection ring to intimidate, threaten and bully. To “go legal” as they say. Exactly what ageing, ill and often pension dependent patients need.

At this point getting consumer and legal advice, alerting and perhaps lodging a complaint with the ACCC and making some well advised choices about taking that 15% option is in order. After you’re certain that they can effect your credit rating. Remember that AMI are engaged in unconscionable conduct, and NRM intentionally set out to engage in unconscionable conduct.

There is no evidence the so-called Debt Collection isn’t another scam, and it alone is unconscionable conduct by extension. The ACCC will confirm this. As I note above, any debt AMI accrued pre June 2011 is not legally theirs to recover. With luck they will soon be shut down and prosecuted. If contacted clients should not hesitate to summarise this ACCC entry.

Medications sold via their contracts include SSRI’s like fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Aropax or Paxil), escitalopram (Lexapro), sertraline (Zoloft) etc. These were introduced over the late 1970’s – 1980’s with Lexapro introduced some years later.

AMI also favour old style tricyclic antidepressants such as Clonipramine. This cutting edge technology has been around since the 1950’s with clonipramine added to common tricyclic antidepressants in the 1960’s. The pain killer Tramadol is another.

Their super advanced Path Breaking Research and Development also includes, as mentioned, the Parkinson’s drug apomorphine via lozenge, nasal spray or tongue strip. Apomorphine has been around since the 1940’s.

Why these drugs? SSRI’s and tricyclic antidepressants have a side effect in prolonging time to ejaculation. This effect may persist or may be prove to be transient. Remembering the conditions they are prescribed for, and the side effects they already carry I’ll leave you to consider the value of such off-label use.

The shocking aspect here is rather than pay $250.00 per month and be locked in for two years patients could consult their GP and pay around AU $20.00 per month. For those on a pension or any benefit it’s $5.80 per month. No contracts, no threats and no gambling with side effects.

It gets worse. Men have been scammed into a $3,000 contract and bullied into payment long after the penny dropped, only to report they were already on an SSRI reaping any potential benefit of “lasting longer”. In these cases they need not have spent a cent.

A major drawback with SSRI and tricyclic medications is the interaction with some migraine specific medications or even pain killers such as Tramadol. Serotonin Syndrome can be a serious and potentially life threatening reaction to using two or more of these drugs.

A major cause of premature ejaculation is fast neurological response time in pelvic muscles. Guys can even save that $20.00 per month and learn pelvic floor exercises known as Kegel Exercises. Searching for those key words will provide millions of hits. In cases of erectile dysfunction consult your GP to be sure it’s not a more serious problem.

In conclusion do keep in mind that Advanced Medical Institute is neither “advanced” or an “institute”. It’s a scam run by professional parasitic predators who pressure vulnerable, ill and everyday Australian men out of their money. They can offer nothing to improve sexual health – quite the opposite.

In researching for this post I was appalled, infuriated and disgusted by the tactics creatures such as Vaisman use to scheme struggling Aussies who conduct themselves with dignity, strength and poise. To be unwell is one thing, to make a less than ideal decision and be scammed is another. Yet to navigate the resultant quandary with optimism and humour takes a trait I hope I have, somewhere deep inside.

One hopes the ACCC get to use the unconscionable conduct laws with gusto.

  • ACCC resources. Keywords – “Advanced Medical Institute”

http://www.accc.gov.au/search/accc-funnelback/Advanced%20Medical%20Institute

The Australian Vaccination Network

From the very beginning in 1994, the AVN has always been a membership and donation-driven organisation, relying on the support of our members… All memberships include a subscription (either hard copy or digital – your choice) to the AVN’s magazine, Living Wisdom. (Meryl Dorey – AVN president)

Is The Australian Vaccination Network Australia’s leading Charity Fraud?

In 2009 a small group of concerned Aussies began to raise dissent with health authorities about a group of vaccine conspiracy theorists known as The Australian Vaccination Network. It very quickly became apparent that something much darker was unfolding behind the locked and censored doors of the leader of this cult-like group, Meryl Wynn Dorey.

The AVN was like a black hole for money and their Charitable Fundraising Authority was the Event Horizon. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were sucked into their two bank accounts as promise after promise and scam after scam was presented to members. It seemed that every remote issue related to vaccination was cause for a new fund raising drive.

The vital need to test vaccines, the need to protect health workers from vaccination, the need to save school girls from HPV vaccines, the need to allow unvaccinated children into childcare, the need for $52,000 seemingly just to have and to hold from this day forth. The need to advertise about vaccines and autism, the need to help a family “on the run from vaccination”, a competition to beat a $500 donation, the need to fund legal fees for another family in court (over $100,000). On and on and on came the demands for money.

Yet no project ever eventuated. No family received so much as one cent. They were abandoned to the courts with the AVN nowhere in sight. No feedback on any of this money has ever been provided.

Then the little group discovered the AVN’s false use of business names. AVN members were paying to fund AVN material to be produced and passed to new mums under the auspices of certain businesses. Except the businesses had never heard of this and recoiled at the mention of the AVN. It was a complete scam to fleece members. Then came the “information packs” being sold. Except they were full of stolen copyright material. Once again, scam after scam going on and on with excuse after excuse.

The totality of fraud is mind boggling and after a couple of initial jaw droppers, I’ve only returned to writing about it recently.

As you’ll see in the video below the text at the top of this article is misleading. Dorey’s genius is in picking a passing demographic. Expectant parents will be drawn in to her scams, subscribe, join and then be overwhelmed by the reality of a new family or a new child. Few will chase up the one or two hundred dollars that nice lady took. Like all scams, embarrassment and red tape, with the possibility of more expense to get back much less inhibits victims from taking serious action.

Consider the 205 professional members I can glean from Meryl’s listing at present. One can pay up to $1,500 for a Gold Professional. It includes:

Gold Professional Membership to the Australian Vaccination includes a Subscription to Living Wisdom Magazine  for 1 year

Now, this is curious. Some ordinary members have asked why there was only one magazine out of the nine promised from the start of 2011 to the middle of 2012. They were told if they weren’t so stupid and actually read the announcement Meryl published they’d know that “6 magazines per year” now just meant “6 magazines… when the AVN is good and ready”.

Yes the new Join Us page has no mention of any time limit you silly members. Then again it isn’t very clear in explaining that you may need to leave the subscription to your grandchildren:

Membership includes 6 editions of Living Wisdom magazine (either hard copy or digital or both if you choose) and there are discounts available for 12 and 18 issue memberships.

Eighteen issues?! At the present rate that’s going to take twenty seven years… and counting.

So, why are Gold Professionals still being sold yearly subscriptions as above? Indeed, what of professionals who bought annual or three year memberships because of the frequent and regular exposure promised in the Living Wisdom magazine? Gold and Silver Professionals were promised:

A Healthy Choices ad in Living Wisdom magazine for 3 issues – value $450.00

So whether professionals paid $275 for one year or $700 for three years, let’s check what they relied on in making that decision.

  • A free listing for your business or practice in Living Wisdom magazine and on the AVN website. Just hang in there another 18 months or more.
  • 6 issues of Living Wisdom magazine in the printed format. At one issue per 18 months that’s going to take nine years.
    The magazine covers the most up-to-date news happening around the world involving vaccination. The last issue contained a PDF by Judy Wilyman’s supervisor that’s all over the internet for free, and some whacky conspiracy claims arguing against the real science of vaccination that you copied and pasted from elsewhere or just made up.
  • 6 issues of Living Wisdom magazine in the digital format
    Digital magazines are the way of the future, with a simple click of a button you can have a magazine downloaded to your computer to read at your leisure. The “click of a button” eh? My that does sound all space agey. Thank goodness they’re “the way of the future” because we have no way of predicting how the world will even look by the time they all come out.
    A link will be emailed to you every time we have a new magazine ready for you to read. All you will need to do is click on it and you will have all our great articles at your fingertips. Of course by 2021 and beyond information will be beamed directly to your eye lens display, and the magazine will simply appear as if floating right in front of you.
  • 10 free issues of Living Wisdom online magazine to give away to clients or colleagues. Remember to leave instructions in your will so your descendents can visit your dying clients or colleagues, or perhaps leave them at the graveside. Don’t let on – it’ll be a terrific surprise.
  • A 10% discount on books, CDs, DVDs, etc. from the AVN shop. AVN Books, DVD’s and CD’s etc are available for free all over the internet or at much less price than the AVN want.
  • Advance notice of seminars, webinars and workshops around the country and, in many cases, a membership discount. Wow. I get to find out about the same repetitive autism and cancer claims and actually pay to fly there.
  • Access to the AVN website. This contains pages and pages of great news articles on vaccinations and childhood immunizations collected over many years. You haven’t really had a close look lately have you Meryl.
  • Discounts and premiums from some of our other Professional Members. These include specials on everything from homoeopathic and chiropractic visits to purchases at retail shops. You have 1 occupational therapist, one physiotherapist, one Bowen therapist, one herbalist, one TCM practitioner etc, etc… and 135 chiropractors! Who goes to a chiropractor associated with the AVN anyway?!

Arguably, there are plenty of reasons for victims to not want to draw much attention to themselves after being tripped up by self-confessed “rabid, idiotic fringe dwellers”.

Dorey has at least ceased using the title “Australia’s leading vaccination expert” as she amusingly used to bill herself.

But Australia’s leading charity fraudster is sounding pretty good about now.

Some AVN Stupid burns so much it REALLY burns

50% of us will face cancer in our own lives at one time or another… we will have to face the choice of how to treat our illness – using toxic drugs or safe, effective, time-tested natural remedies… If you or someone you know is facing this issue or if you just want to be prepared for any future cancer diagnoses, this will be the best $25 you have ever spent!

Meryl Dorey – farmer’s wife

If you happen to pass by the AVN Shop with a spare red back you could apparently spend it on an amazing secret.

So incredible that Big Pharma, Big Government and Big Medicine don’t want you to know about it. What is it that “they” don’t want you to know about? One answer to cancer. That “one answer” is based on testimonials about black salve combined with ridiculous claims about Aldara (Imiquimod). Imiquimod is accused of causing “systemic and fatal reactions” and actually causing cancer.

In fact imiquimod is successful in treating basal and squamous cell carcinomas, malignant melanomas, actinic keratosis and genital warts to name some conditions. The business about it causing cancer may well have it’s genesis in the fact imiquimod is used on subclinical lesions to promote visibility. It’s a painful approach but ensures all lesions can be successfully treated.

“They” don’t want you to know

Black salve is a type of corrosive salve known as an escharotic. If you’d like to see and read up on the sort of damage corrosive salves can do, check out Quackwatch‘s article aptly headed, Don’t Use Corrosive Cancer Salves (Escharotics). A discussion on the natural logic for their use can be found, I believe, in close proximity to the word “preposterous”.

Dorey’s copy/paste blurb includes the usual silliness about “nature’s scalpel” having been used for over 2,000 years “to treat skin cancers and other cancerous conditions, leading to a total remission of the disease.” Total remission! Wow. Of course putting profits “ahead of morality or their duty of care”, doctors and therapeutic watchdogs have ruined lives with proven Aldara all over the world, rather than promote Black Salve. Strange, because in their overview of Cancer Salves the American Cancer Society note in that killjoy Big Medicine fashion:

Available scientific evidence does not support claims that salves are effective in treating cancer or tumors. In fact, some ingredients may cause great harm. There have been numerous reports of severe burns, disfigurement, and permanent scarring from some of these salves.

That’s awfully negative and a little alarming. In Australia the TGA did publish a warning on it’s website on February 3rd. No doubt just showing off because they can bridge the gap between Big Pharma and Big Government whilst pretending to regulate Big Medicine, the immoral profiteers abandon duty of care to warn Patients and Consumers:

The TGA strongly advises consumers and patients against purchasing or using Black Salve.

Black Salve is corrosive and essentially burns off layers of the skin and surrounding normal tissue. It can destroy large parts of the skin and underlying tissue, and leave significant scarring.

In addition to the TGA warning about the purchase and use of Black Salve, the TGA is also investigating the supply of the product in Australia.

Further, a complaint about the advertising of Black Salve on certain Australian Internet sites is currently under consideration by the Complaints Resolution Panel.

Not long ago Janelle Miles of The Courier Mail reported on this ongoing global plot to ruin lives with toxic drugs and hide, “this safe, effective, time tested natural remedy”, as Meryl called it. Interviewing Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia president Gabrielle Caswell, they managed to catch her out saying it was “pretty horrific stuff”, capable of causing “gross scarring”. “It’s disturbing that this product is so widely available,’‘, she added.

Later, probably trying to drive suspicion away from Big Cosmo, Caswell added:

“I wouldn’t want it on my body. I wouldn’t put it on a dog if I had a dog because I think if you have a pet, you look after them.”

Which is rather telling because apparently it is being sold for animal use. Illegally. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority are presently investigating five websites for peddling porkies to pooch. Many sites are quite happy to tell you the TGA advises against use for humans. But when you know “they” don’t want you to know, the sites may assume you know of another meaning entirely. You know?

The World Today ran a report earlier today on this issue [Audio MP3 here]. It’s clear there are appalling corrosive side effects that can ensue from using Black Salve. Yet the sheer predatory nature of those who contend that a localised agent could have any effect on a deeply invasive cancerous growth that also metastasises, (like melanoma), is appalling.

So is the claim that blood roots, zinc chloride and zinc oxide is a “safe, effective, natural” alternative being hushed up by organised conspiracy. The ABC confirm that many websites claim “that the medical establishment rejects alternative cancer therapies such as Black Salve because it’s too difficult to make money from them.”

TGA issues warning on skin cancer remedy © ABC The World Today

Despite promotion of anecdotal claims and testimonials, as Ian Olver from the Cancer Council said:

If you just have testimonials, you really don’t know whether, even if it said to work whether that is one in two, one in 20 or one in 200 and that makes a big difference to whether you suggest it to anyone else.

The best twenty odd bucks you’ll ever spend? This burning stupid really burns.