The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) confirmed it has issued two infringement notices to chef Peter Evans totalling $25,200 for alleged breaches of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.
The fines come as a warning to all businesses taking to social media to advertise their product without proper foundation, after Mr Evans allegedly live-streamed to his 1.4 million Facebook followers that his device could be used in relation to the “Wuhan coronavirus”.
The TGA has taken this extremely seriously, explaining that any claim that references COVID-19 is a restricted representation under therapeutic goods legislation, given the heightened public concern about the pandemic.
The watchdog issued Mr Evans with one infringement notice in respect of the representation made in the live stream, and a second for alleged advertising breaches on the company website.
“The BioCharger included claims such as ‘proven to restore strength, stamina, co-ordination and mental clarity’, ‘sharpening your mental clarity’, ‘recovery… from an injury, stress’, ‘accelerating muscle recovery and reducing stiffness in joints’,” the TGA found.
In late March, the TGA cautioned companies that it will take action in relation to the illegal advertising of therapeutic products.
Claims it flagged included unregistered products that “kill COVID-19”, air purifiers that help fight the coronavirus, complementary medicines that prevent the virus, and a medical device that treats a number of serious diseases including COVID-19, HIV AIDS and cancer.
Advertisers were reminded that criminal offence and civil penalty provisions apply to illegal advertising of therapeutic goods, with fines reaching up to $840,000 for an individual or $4.2 million for a body corporate.