Chiropractor advertising cancer cure prosecuted

Marks the first court case brought against a chiropractor for making misleading claims.

A chiropractor who advertised that adjustments could prevent cancer has become the first in the country to be prosecuted for making misleading claims.

The ruling comes almost a year after several parties, including CHOICE, raised serious concerns about the lack of regulation in the industry.

Chiropractor Dr Hance Limboro was fined $29,500 after falsely claiming he could prevent, treat and cure cancer in his advertising. 

The ads were promoted on a website called Cancer Cure Sydney and linked back to Limboro's practice, Action Health Centre.

One ad claimed a chiropractic adjustment could cure cancer because posture issues are "believed to be the root problem of all diseases and disorders, including cancer". 

Another claimed it was "worth a try" when treating a brain tumour, says a report by Fairfax media.

Dr Limboro pleaded guilty to 13 charges filed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

"A $30,000 fine is a smack on the wrist for a health professional..."

The ruling is the first time the industry regulator has prosecuted a chiropractor for making misleading claims, but industry professionals are debating its effectiveness.

Chief executive of AHPRA Martin Fletcher says the ruling sends an important message to chiropractors.

"Making false claims to treat serious illnesses through unproven methods is both unethical and illegal. 

"This shows that we will take action and that people breaking the law will be held to account."

Dr Ken Harvey, Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University, disagrees, and claims more needs to be done.

"I hope [the court case] is not the end of it. A $30,000 fine is a smack on the wrist for a health professional [who is] earning $200,000 a year. It's not an impediment."

Dr Harvey describes the practice as "appallingly outrageous". 

"My view is he should be deregistered," he adds.

The head of campaigns at CHOICE, Erin Turner, says the proceedings are a step in the right direction.

"Misleading claims about the effectiveness of health treatments cost consumers in serious ways, as they pay for something that doesn't work and as they aren't getting access to treatments that will actually help.

"We hope this is the start of further decisive action against claims that some chiropractors have been making that have no scientific backing."

More than 600 complaints have been lodged against chiropractors who've made "egregious advertising claims that lack evidence" says Dr Harvey. Many of the complaints have to do with chiropractors promoting adjustments for children.