Advertising, magic, bent spoons, and more…

FSM News and Articles

Complementary medicines advertising policy – Part I – unethical conduct in the Australian market before July 2018: “Numerous complementary medicines (and medical devices) that were extensively advertised failed to meet real health needs, diverted consumers from more evidence-based treatment and wasted their money. The laws to protect consumers were adequate: the problem was lack of enforcement.”

Complementary medicines advertising policy – Part II – unethical conduct in the Australian market after July 2018: “Complaint classification and actions taken by the TGA were inconsistent. The TGA’s new compliance powers were rarely applied. The new complaint system is less transparent than the one it replaced. There is a high rate of advertising complaints and a low rate of effective regulatory response. Time-based KPIs should be based on outcome measures, not when a case is closed by a process measure. An urgent review of the new system is required. Comment on Australia’s 2018 Royal Commission into Misconduct in Banking is equally applicable to the TGA: ‘Essentially a failure to enforce the law undermines the authority of the regulator whose fundamental responsibility is to do just that.’ It also encourages others to break the law, leading to a race to the bottom and consumer detriment.”


‘Amazing’ escape artist, magician, and skeptic James Randi dead at 92: “I can’t do real magic,” said Randi in the 1987 Fresh Air interview. “I think there’s more magic in the opening of a morning glory than anything I or any charlatans in history has ever done, is doing, or will ever do.” An amazing skeptic, performer and person, James Randi taught that everyone is capable of being fooled, shown most notably in the many believers who would keep on believing even after he showed them exactly how a ‘psychic’s’ trick had worked.

Today’s Abused Health Concept

Celebrity promotion of quackery: For some time celebrity chef Pete Evans has maintained a reputation as a controversial figure, thanks to his promotion and support of various pseudo-scientific health modalities, diets, conspiracies and devices, often with little to no regard for evidence or safety. Evans has now become the first ever two time recipient of the ‘Bent Spoon’ award from the Australian Skeptics. The Bent Spoon, one of the least sought-after awards, is given to the proponent of the most preposterous piece of pseudoscientific or paranormal piffle of the year. “His promotion of the pseudoscientific non-medical BioCharger for treating COVID-19 would have been enough in its own right,” said Tim Mendham… “But add on top his promotion of the anti-vaccination cause, through interviewing defrocked medico Andrew Wakefield to discuss his debunked suggestion of a link between vaccines and autism, and his support of the alarmist, conspiratorial and mis-named Medical Options Party in the Queensland election, meant that there really was no other choice.”

Evans first won the Spoon in 2015 for his dangerous diet promotions (bone broth for babies!) and his campaigns against fluoridation and vaccination. “Over the years, Evans has added to his portfolio of weirdness. Each new fetish just puts further strange ideas out there, some silly, some dangerous. He is a deserving winner.”

Great Moments in Health and Science 

The Development of hip replacement surgery: For those with severe arthritis, or fractures, hip replacement surgery can improve function, pain and independence.