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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 19505

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Magazine

Colyer S
Court finds alternative cancer therapy claims not misleading
Oncology Update 2011 Apr 21

Full text:

The Supreme Court of Victoria has quashed attempts to stop a dentist turned cancer therapist from promoting treatments such as ozone, photo-dynamics and high doses of vitamin C.
Noel Rodney Campbell’s Hope Clinic in Glenroy advertised on its website that photodynamic therapy could work in situations when surgery would not be feasible, such as for inaccessible tumours of the neck and throat.
On ozone therapy, the clinic’s website claimed it “boosts the immune system and kills infections and cancer cells”.
And vitamin C was said to “destroy cancer cells in a nontoxic way” when used in very large doses administered intravenously.
But Supreme Justice Tony Pagone said the plaintiff, Consumer Affairs Victoria, had not established that any of these statements or others like them were false and misleading.
“Whether or not a statement is false and misleading depends upon its text and its context,” Justice Pagone said.
“[Campbell’s] view may be erroneous when judged from the point of view of prevailing science and conventional medicine but it does not make the statement false and misleading in the context of the whole of the website which is directed at promoting a form of treatment described as not being within conventional science and conventional medicine,” he said.
In response to the clinic’s claim its treatments extended life and improved quality-of-life in most cases, Justic Pagone said to conclude this was false and misleading “would deny the expression of an opinion from any point of view other than that of traditional medicine and prevailing scientific knowledge”.
“Judicial proceedings should not become the means to suppress views and opinions which do not conform with prevailing views and opinions,” he said.
Victorian Consumer Affairs director Dr Claire Noone was reportedly considering appealing.


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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909