Guest post by Ken McLeod
Believe it or not, there are practitioners of a health system with little or no evidence of efficacy and safety who are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency. That is, so-called Traditional Chinese Medicine, whose practitioners are registered alongside evidence-based practitioners such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
Governments who framed the relevant legislation evidently hoped that registration would enable the public to have confidence that they would be treated with evidence-based medicine. Such confidence is misplaced, as has been shown in The Skeptic and elsewhere many times.
Here’s another example of the failure of the health practitioner registration system.
Jamie Lloyd Allan is registered with AHPRA with the Chinese Medical Registration Number CMR0002096457, with no endorsements. He practices at his clinic in eastern Sydney. He advertises at his website meridianremedies.com.au.
And some of his claims are deeply worrying. Allan claims that he uses “Chinese Herbal medicine & Acupuncture in conjunction with testing and removal of accumulated toxins and heavy metals, developing comprehensive individualised herbal antimicrobial and detoxification protocols.”
He claims that “toxins and heavy metals … enter our bodies, disrupt normal healthy cell behaviour, impair our immune system, often contribute and sometimes cause many different types of illnesses and health conditions.”
His claims are designed to generate unfounded worries in people, offering a smorgasbord of claims how he can help people learn [the words and spelling are his]:
• how mercury from common amalgam fillings can be passed from mother to child to grandchild and why preconception detoxification is important;
• how to assess a dentist to know your [sic] getting the best and safest care during amalgam removal;
• about mercury/autism connection, heavy metal accumulation and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Dementia;
• more about mercury, aluminium, cadmium and lead toxicity;
• how heavy metal accumulation acts as an antenna for electromagnetic radiation from devices such as wifi, cell phone, cordless phones, thus focusing the frequencies on the areas where the metals are stored, causing changes in the proteins and even DNA;
• the science behind electromagnetic radiation and how it affects human cells;
• Glyphosate toxicity, and how many of us have it and how it affects our health, and lots more.
Allan goes into the alleged toxicity of mercury amalgam fillings further at his blog. I should not have to say it, but his claims are baseless and have been debunked many times. The US Food and Drug Administration has said that existing evidence shows that dental amalgam is not harmful to the general population (tinyurl.com/589mbrr6). And as Scientific American said “Mercury and Autism: Enough Already! The science shows that they have nothing to do with each other and never have.” (tinyurl.com/mwwdxxak)
Allan also writes extensively on “EMF Sensitivity Wi-Fi and Cell Phone radiation – Heavy Metals and EMF Sensitivity and Autism” – he claims “Autism rates double every 5 years and the only thing that parallels that in our environment is the increase of man made Electro magnetic Radiation and fields largely in the high frequencies from cell phone Wi-Fi, smart meters and other Electro magnetic devices.’ This is unconscionable; scaring potential clients with this, while conveniently forgetting that correlation does not mean causation.
Allan also offers the following techniques as a “Detox for autism”:
• Sauna or heat therapy (far infrared is best) Cold shower straight after to close pores and wash of toxins
• Clay plasters, Clay on scars, then shower
• Ionic Foot Cleanses, Detox baths, Takara foot Pads, or raw white potato strapped on soles of feet
• Fibre + Enemas or colonics, slippery elm, keep bowls [sic] moving
• Liver gall bladder flush with lemon oil
• Exercise, dry skin brush
• Chi Machine for lymph drainage and movement to parasympathetic dominance
• Olive or other healthy oils for swish and spit
• Genetic, vitamin, mineral testing to guide your diet and supplements
• Western and Chinese Herbs to detox bowls [sic], liver, kidney, lymph
• Homeopathic drops & plenty of water orally
• Laser Energetic detox
• Ozonized bath, Epson salt bath
• Enema for detox reactions in kids
• Stronger detox agents DMPS, DMSA, EDTA can be used in case of high-level toxicity. For children, the use of the above mention techniques over DMPS, DMSA and EDTA is preferred first.
“Raw white potato strapped on soles of feet”!! Come on! This is lunacy. And enemas for children? And what qualifications does Allan hold to diagnose and administer these dangerous pharmaceuticals?
Luckily, Allan offers the perfect scanner to diagnose what’s wrong with you, the Oligoscan.
As described, “This a [sic] spectrographic-based test. Every element on the periodic table has its own unique absorption spectra, meaning that different elements absorb certain wavelengths of light, and reflect others. The spectra of lead will be different from that of mercury, or calcium, or any other element. The Oligoscan shines a laser on different points on the hand, and based off of [sic] which wavelengths of light are absorbed or reflected back, the levels of different metals and minerals in the cells of your hand can be determined. This is similar to how astronomers can analyze the wavelengths of light emitted by distant stars to determine their chemical make-up.
“The Oligoscan has the advantage of testing the levels of metals that are actually in your cells, not what you are able to excrete. It tests the heavy metal load of the tissues. This is important because heavy metals have a affinity [sic] for tissues and are often store [sic] there and not in the blood. It can also measure aluminium, which most other tests will miss. Oligoscan results tend to correlate with other accurate tests.”
A search of the TGA’s register of therapeutic goods did not find the Oligoscan listed.
Clearly, Allan is engaged in a process of scaring potential clients with misinformation, then offering diagnostic and treatment processes that are deceptive, ineffective and dangerous, and not listed with the TGA; for all of which he is not qualified.
A complaint was sent to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission describing the above issues. (In NSW and Queensland, complaints concerning health care practitioners, registered and unregistered, are lodged with the relevant State authorities, the HCCC and OHO respectively.) We added that “This should not be treated as merely a case of misleading advertising; Allan is clearly endangering the public, so I recommend a thorough audit of his practice, and when my allegations are found to be proven, suitable disciplinary action taken and entered on the AHPRA register.”
The HCCC responded saying “Following consultation with the Chinese Medicine Council of New South Wales, it was decided to refer this matter to the Australian Health Practitioner
Regulation Agency (AHPRA) as AHPRA is the designated agency to manage concerns about advertising. We did not identify any other issues that would require further action by the Commission.” (We approached the Chinese Medicine Council of NSW – their response is quoted in the sidebar.)
The HCCC continued: “The Commission obtained a written response from Mr Allan. In his response to the Commission, Mr Allan stated that he had no record of providing any care and treatment to you.
“Mr Allan acknowledged that his website may have created a misunderstanding about what actual treatments are offered at his clinic, and what was on his website for educational purposes only.
“Mr Allan noted that he has never owned an Oligoscan or used it at his clinic, he has therefore removed that information from his website.
“Mr Allan confirmed that he does not offer the techniques under the heading ‘detox for autism’ at his clinic, the information was for educational purposes only, and he has now removed this information from his website.
“Further, Mr Allan has confirmed that he has removed the information on his website about Glyphosate Toxicity, Toxicity of Mercury Amalgam fillings, Nutrition for Autism, and all avenues of receiving mercury toxicity.
“Mr Allan also stated that he has since edited the information on EMF Sensitivity Wi-Fi and Cell Phone radiation – Heavy Metals and EMF Sensitivity Autism, as well as editing the information contained on the home and about pages of his website.
“Mr Allan stated that he has left the resources section with all the raw studies, and some information contained in other sections, as he feels that they are of use for anybody wanting to learn more about this specialised area.”
So, in spite of the detailed evidence and a call for a thorough audit of his practice, this was treated as merely a case of misleading advertising. This is standard operating procedure; the regulatory authorities cannot get over the divide between advertising and clinical practice. This has been shown in the hundreds of complaints sent to regulators; misleading advertising of dangerous practices and misinformation is simply treated as an advertising issue. The regulators cannot accept that if a practitioner advertises a therapy then they are more than likely using those therapies and, when those therapies have been found to be ineffective, they are engaging in practice in their clinics that deserves more than the dismissive response we received.
The public deserve much better than that.
Note: All of the quotes above were from Allan’s website until he removed them. The relevant pages have, nonetheless, can be accessed via the WayBack Machine, and can be supplied if required.
The Chinese Medicine Council’s position
The Chinese Medical Council were referred to the issues in the main article and were asked the following questions:
• Is the advice and those therapies [offered by Allan] of any concern to the Council?
• Should the complaint to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission have led to an audit of his practice and when the allegations are proven, should there have been disciplinary action?
A spokesperson for the Chinese Medicine Council of NSW replied: “The Chinese Medicine Council of NSW (the Council) works in collaboration with the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) to receive and manage complaints about registered practitioners in
NSW. Our paramount legal obligation is to protect the public. We deal with practitioners whose conduct, performance or health may represent a risk to the public or is not in the public interest.
“We do this by assessing complaints, promoting compliance with professional standards and delivering programs to ensure practitioners provide safe care to the public and their patients. We do not have the legal power to discipline a NSW practitioner or to deregister them.
“By law, the Council cannot provide information about an individual practitioner. Only information that is publicly available can be disclosed, such as information recorded on the national register of practitioners which is maintained by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), or publication of the outcomes of NCAT [New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal] proceedings.
“Changes to a registered health practitioner’s registration status, such as the imposition of conditions or suspension, are published on the AHPRA online public register.
“The Council will not be making any further public comments at this time.
So, the Chinese Medicine Council have taken no action to protect the public and made no real comment. At least they have promised “Only information that is publicly available can be disclosed”, a statement of breathless inanity.
*‘first published in the Australian Skeptic magazine of June 2022.