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Court Frowns On ‘Mammogram Alternative’

March 12, 2014
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Medical Ethics, Practice Management
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An Australian court on Monday found a breast-imaging company and a former doctor guilty of false and misleading conduct for promoting a supposed radiation-free alternative to mammograms.

Federal Court Justice Michael Barker ruled that Breast Check, of Perth in the state of Western Australia, produced pamphlets that were misleading or deceptive and that the clinic falsely claimed that its treatments were substitutes for mammograms. The Australian news website news.com.au gave the following description of the treatments:

The company used a device known as a multifrequency electrical impedance mammograph and a digital infrared thermographic camera to capture images of customers’ breasts.

The company said its treatments could determine whether someone had breast cancer and assess a patient’s risk for breast cancer. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the consumer watchdog agency that instituted the complaint, said medical evidence did not support those claims. The judge agreed. He found that pamphlets produced by the company in 2010 and 2011 violated the Trade Practices Act and Australian Consumer Law.

The judge also found that Alexandra Boyd, MBBS, of Perth was knowingly involved in the deception and was liable as an accessory. According to Australia’s public broadcaster, ABC, Dr. Boyd was “struck off the medical register” last year after an inquest found that she allowed her home to be used to give seven cancer patients “alternative” treatments that contributed to the deaths of at least some of them.

Six of the patients died within nine weeks of the start of treatments. The treatments included intravenous administration of cesium, laetrile, and the industrial solvent DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide), according to the news website PerthNow.

Justice Barker is scheduled to determine penalties for Breast Check and Dr. Boyd in May.

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An X-ray machine fire and partial meltdown caused an evacuation of medical offices on Cape Cod this week. For details, see our Facebook page.

Related CME seminar (up to 39.25 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™): Comprehensive Review of Breast Imaging

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