15 Feb 2017
A New South Wales chiropractor has been convicted of false advertising after he claimed to be able to prevent, treat and cure cancer in his advertising.
Dr Hance Limboro was sentenced today at the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney after he pleaded guilty to 13 charges filed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) in August 2016. Dr Limboro was convicted and fined $29,500 by the court and was also ordered to pay AHPRA’s legal costs. He was fined for using testimonials in his advertising, which is not permitted when advertising regulated health services.
Dr Limboro was convicted of unlawfully advertising a regulated health service and using testimonials under the National Law.1
Chiropractic Board of Australia Chair, Dr Wayne Minter AM, said the Board welcomed today’s decision by the court.
‘Today’s conviction is a win for public protection and a warning to anyone advertising health services in a way that contravenes the National Law,’ Dr Minter said.
‘Most chiropractors are doing the right thing. 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.’
AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said today’s outcome sent an important message to anyone who advertises a regulated health service that the regulator will take action if they break the law.
‘Today’s conviction is a landmark ruling. Our purpose, working closely with the Chiropractic Board of Australia, is to protect the public. This shows that we will take action and that people breaking the law will be held to account,’ Mr Fletcher said.
‘Making false claims to treat serious illnesses through unproven methods is both unethical and illegal. In her ruling Magistrate Viney said that while the practitioner personally may not have loaded the advertising onto the website in question, he could not deny responsibility. This is an important lesson for others who are advertising regulated health services.
‘Today’s outcome is a reminder to all of us as health consumers and patients that if an advertisement seems too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you ask your health practitioner what evidence they have to make these claims and if you’re still unsure, seek a second opinion,’ Mr Fletcher said.
AHPRA and 14 National Boards that regulate Australia’s registered health workforce have published Guidelines on advertising regulated health services to help health practitioners and service providers know their obligations under the National Law, along with additional resources to help understand the do’s and don’ts of advertising.
Anyone with concerns about the advertising of regulated health services should contact AHPRA on 1300 419 495.
What does 'regulated health service' mean?
A 'registered health practitioner’ means an individual who is registered to practise (other than as a student) or holds non-practising registration under the National Law, in a health profession.
‘Health profession’ under the National Law means one of the 14 professions (including recognised specialties) regulated under the National Scheme (and identified under the National Law).
‘Regulated health service’ means a service provided by, or usually provided by, a health practitioner, as defined in the National Law. The advertising provisions of the National Law cover the advertising of a regulated health service, or the advertising of a business that provides a regulated health service.
For more information
Download a PDF of this Media release - NSW chiropractor who claimed cancer cure convicted in landmark case - 15 February 2017 (212 KB,PDF)
1The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law). Section 133(1)(a) of the National Law protects the public by stating clearly that a health practitioner and/or provider of a regulated health service cannot advertise in a way that is false, misleading or deceptive, or is likely to be misleading or deceptive.