I am sure we can all recall, in recent years, the advertisements plastered over billboards for the Advanced Medical Institute (AMI), promoting treatments for premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction: a nasal spray promising the dream of ‘long lasting, longer sex’ awaited.
About six months ago, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) was successful in an action against the AMI for breaches of the Trade Practices Act and the Australian Consumer Law. AMI was slammed by the Federal Court for its sales techniques, which were aimed at exploiting the anxieties of its target market. In particular, the Court found AMI failed to provide any scientific basis for its treatments, nor did it diagnose the medical cause of the erectile dysfunction of its patients.
In his judgment, Justice Tony North found that by using high-pressure selling techniques, including telling potential patients they would suffer “psychological impotence” if they did not agree to treatment, the AMI failed to meet the standards of proper practice established by the medical profession.
Among the additional relief sought by the ACCC, the Court ordered an injunction against AMI to stop its advertising.
So, what’s happened since?
Well, whether it has been a matter of being uncertain of its legal obligations, or alternatively, flagrantly disregarding the law, AMI has recently been taken back to the Federal Court by the ACCC, this time for contempt of Court. The ACCC alleges AMI, by continuing to make statements and/or representations through their website, television and radio advertising, has breached the previous Court Order.
One wonders what it may take for AMI to learn its lesson, in circumstances where the Court has previously found it consistently elevated its own commercial self-interests above the welfare of its patients.
The matter will be dealt with by the Federal Court over the coming months. Watch this space.
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