Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Irregular Regulation

By Peter Bowditch

A caustic paste can dissolve the authority of regulators more effectively than its purported use against cancer cells.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

One of the things we expect governments to do is to make and enforce regulations that protect the health and safety of citizens. There are, of course, constant complaints about over­regulation, but generally people accept that there have to be rules and that most of these rules are reasonable and beneficial.

An obvious area for regulation is the manufacture and distribution of medical products and services. The groups responsible for managing this are the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and the various government-sanctioned medical boards.

In 2013 Meryl Dorey, then-president of the Australian Vaccination Network, appeared on the internet radio station Fair Dinkum Radio and promoted black salve as a cure for cancer. This is a caustic paste that effectively dissolves any tissues with which it comes into contact. It is about as useful a cancer cure as burning cancer away with a blowtorch, although it works a little slower. The TGA politely asked Dorey and Leon Pittard at the radio station to display a notice on their websites admitting that they had been promoting this dangerous and useless nostrum. They refused. The notices were never displayed.

The correspondence between the TGA and the AVN over black salve was acquired under freedom of information rules. Most of it was just a to-and-fro argument...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.