Corporation convicted on unlawful ad charges

A male hormone clinic has been fined over $125,000 after AHPRA brought charges of unlawful advertising

Wellness Enterprises Pty Limited, which traded as Australian Male Hormone Clinic, has been found guilty and convicted of 17 charges related to unlawful advertising of regulated health services.

AHPRA brought charges after the business published advertisements in newspapers around the country between February and August 2017, for treatment of testosterone deficiency.

These “advertorial” style full page ads made several claims about the benefits of treatment, including increased energy, focus, masculinity and strength as well as ability to satisfy sexual partners.

AHPRA challenged the validity of these claims, citing best available evidence.

It cited Section 133 of the National Law, which states that a person must not advertise a regulated health service or a business that provides a regulated health services, in a way that:

  • is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to be misleading or deceptive, or
  • offers a gift, discount or other inducement to attract a person to use the service or the business, unless the advertisement also states the terms and conditions of the offer, or
  • uses testimonials or purported testimonials about the service or business, or
  • creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment, or
  • directly or indirectly encourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services.

In the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney, the corporation was found guilty and convicted on 17 charges.

Magistrate Atkinson cited the seriousness of the offences in fining the corporation $7,500 on each charge, totalling $127,500.

The corporation was also ordered to pay court costs of $3,000 and professional costs up to $3,000.

AHPRA points out that this is the first time that a corporation, not an individual health practitioner, has been convicted following advertising charges brought by AHPRA under section 133 of the National Law.

AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher welcomed the Court’s decision.

“Our primary objective is to protect the public,” he says.

“Advertising can heavily influence a patient’s decision-making around their healthcare needs and information in advertising must be accurate and based on acceptable evidence.

“AHPRA and the National Boards will continue to take action against unlawful advertising in the best interests of all consumers of regulated health services,” he says.

Wellness Enterprises Pty Limited, which was incorporated on 13 April 2016, was placed into voluntary liquidation on 12 September 2017.

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