AVN banned for 'abusing the trust' of cancer patients

A NORTHERN NSW lobby group under investigation for peddling dangerous information about childhood vaccinations has been banned from illegally-advertising a supposed miracle cancer cure.

Up until early this month, the Bangalow-based Australian Vaccination Network's website featured an ad for the controversial skin-cancer cream Black Salve and an accompanying DVD titled "One Answer to Cancer".

The Department of Health and Ageing found the organisation had breached the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code of 2007 by "abusing the trust" of vulnerable cancer patients through its promotion of an un-registered treatment.

The ad described the product as "safe, effective, natural remedy...used for over 2000 years to treat skin cancers and other cancerous conditions leading to a total remission of the disease".

A delegate of the DHA found that based on the statements, consumers would "be entitled to expect that Black Salve will cure them of cancer when in fact, there is no credible, reliable clinical or scientific evident to demonstrate that the product is effective in the treatment of any cancer".

The product was plugged as both a cure and alternative to the certified medicine "Aldara".

It was also suggested it could "help people cure their own cancers".

The DHA website states the ad "portrayed Black Salve as a cure for cancer which would exploit a person's vulnerability....(and) used language that...would bring about fear or distress by making people fearful of the consequences if they did not use black salve".

AVN was ordered to print a retraction on the site stating an ad "promoting illegal therapeutic goods under the name Black Salve" should not have been published along with the admission it "misled and abused the trust of consumers".

The retraction was to remain in place for 60 days.

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