Chiropractor fined over cancer cure claims

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In a legal first in Australia, a chiropractor has been convicted for false advertising


In a legal first in Australia, a chiropractor has been convicted for false advertising.

The NSW-based chiropractor was fined $29,500 for falsely advertising that his services could cure cancer. Dr Hance Limboro pleaded guilty to 13 charges of unlawful advertising before the Downing Centre local court in Sydney on 15 February.

The charges were brought by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency last year.

Dr Limboro is the first chiropractor to be brought before the courts for false advertising, making this a “landmark ruling”, according to AHPRA’s Chiropractic Board of Australia. He was fined for using testimonials in his advertising, which is not permitted when advertising regulated health services.

One advertisements for Dr Limboro’s services, according to court documents, read: “If you are afraid to have the side effects of radiation therapy, one cure you can try is chiropractic treatment.”

Another said: “A natural cancer cure that most people choose nowadays is chiropractic treatment as it has no significant side effects and guarantees long-term relief.”

AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said making false claims to treat serious illnesses through unproved methods was both unethical and illegal.

“In her ruling, magistrate Alison Viney said that while the practitioner personally may not have loaded the advertising on to the website in question, he could not deny responsibility,” she said.

Chiropractic Board of Australia chair Dr Wayne Minter welcomed the decision, saying the conviction was a win for public protection. “Most chiropractors are doing the right thing,” he said. “However, the board has been up front with the profession that if their advertising is not compliant with the law, they will be held to account.”

Complaints to AHPRA against chiropractors ballooned in the 2015-16 financial year, increasing 400% to 560 complaints. This was largely due to campaigns by groups such as Friends of Science in Medicine, which called out ads that falsely promoted chiropractic treatments for serious illnesses.

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