Health watchdog investigating UM-linked practitioners
A FORMAL investigation is being undertaken into treatments offered by Universal Medicine.
Following a Supreme Court jury finding that Universal Medicine's founder, Serge Benhayon, was "the leader of a socially harmful cult" and that UM "engages in misleading conduct", "makes false claims about healing that cause harm to others" and "preys on cancer patients", Friends of Science in Medicine lodged a formal complaint with the Health Care Complaints Commission.
These findings by the jury came as part of Mr Benhayon's unsuccessful defamation case against blogger and former client Esther Rockett.
A spokesman for the state body has confirmed it had finalised an initial assessment of a complaint from Friends of Science in Medicine.
"The assessment of the complaint has been completed and it was referred for formal investigation by the Commission," the spokesman said.
"The investigation is ongoing, and as the matter is current, the Commission is unable to provide further comment."
Friends of Science in Medicine president and University of NSW Emeritus Professor John Dwyer previously told The Northern Star the complaint related to 20 non-registered health practitioners connected with UM.
Prof Dwyer said Friends of Science in Medicine was alleging breaches of the code of ethics the HCCC sets out for non-registered professionals.
"That code of ethics includes not lying to patients," Prof Dwyer said.
"What you're telling them must be evidence-based."
In 2014, a HCCC committee stated the commissioner was "aware of the activities of Universal Medicine and that he has received complaints concerning the treatments being offered".
In 2017, the Professional Standards Board found Goonellabah-based thoracic physician Samuel Kim guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct after he referred a patient to UM-affiliated esoteric practitioners.