07. July 2022

‘Australians should not be misled’: Health Minister lashes cosmetic cowboys


The well being minister has declared the nation deserves higher than being misled by cosmetic surgeons, a few of whom have left sufferers disfigured, because the states and territories think about unwinding a ban on testimonials within the trade.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age revealed final week how some cosmetic surgeons had constructed large followings on social media, spruiking their sufferers’ new breasts, buttocks and muscled physiques to a era inundated with pictures of surgically enhanced beliefs of magnificence on-line.

Moves to lift a ban on patient testimonials will open the floodgates on social media.

Moves to carry a ban on affected person testimonials will open the floodgates on social media.Credit:

But some cosmetic surgeons didn’t dwell as much as their glitzy promoting, utilizing heavy-handed authorized ways to keep away from unfavorable evaluations on-line from sufferers dissatisfied or in ache.

“Australians were rightly shocked by the devastating revelations uncovered by the 60 Minutes and Nine Newspapers joint investigation into cowboy cosmetic surgeons,” Health Minister Mark Butler mentioned in a press release. “Australians seeking these treatments should not be misled by medical practitioners, non-specialist surgeons or those without appropriate surgical training.”

Butler would not say what motion the federal government would take, particularly on a state and territory push underway in Queensland to unwind a patchily enforced ban on testimonial promoting by the trade, however promised to contemplate two evaluations beneath means. The Victorian authorities has not too long ago closed session on additional regulation of cosmetic surgeons — a title any physician with minimal surgical coaching can use — and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency is trying on the trade.

“It is imperative that regulations prohibiting the use of testimonials and other misleading advertising are enforced.”

Senator Sarah Henderson

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland mentioned in an interview that regulation of the trade was primarily a matter for the well being portfolio however that advert requirements utilized. “So I think it’s important to examine how they apply and where there are any gaps in how they apply already,” Rowland mentioned.

The opposition’s newly appointed communications spokeswoman, Senator Sarah Henderson, took purpose on the trade’s use of testimonials, which critics have mentioned are used to lure sufferers in.

“These unscrupulous and dangerous surgical practices are inflicting acute harm on many Australians, exacerbated by misleading advertising and promotion on social media,” Henderson mentioned.

“It is imperative that regulations prohibiting the use of testimonials and other misleading advertising are enforced, no matter where they are published. There is certainly a strong case to consider tougher online enforcement action.”


Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’ath did not reply direct questions in regards to the testimonials ban, however mentioned they’d nonetheless be prohibited in the event that they have been false, deceptive or misleading beneath the proposed modifications. Those that create an unreasonable expectation of helpful therapy or encourage the pointless use of regulated well being companies may even keep banned, she mentioned.

An AHPRA spokeswoman mentioned the regulator supported lifting the ban on testimonials, which is being thought-about by a Queensland parliamentary committee, noting testimonials will nonetheless must be truthful and fines for breaching the legislation would be elevated.

“The change supports us to focus our resources where there is the risk of real harm to patients because a practitioner is being deceptive in their use of testimonials,” she mentioned.

The spokeswoman mentioned practitioners needed to inform authorities whether or not they marketed when renewing their registration every year and declare they complied with nationwide medical legislation. “We are in the early stages of random audits of these responses,” the spokeswoman mentioned.


“We recognise that relying on complaints doesn’t address some non-compliant advertising if it is not brought to our attention. However, with over 800,000 registered health practitioners in the Scheme, it isn’t practical, or a responsible use of resources, for AHPRA to individually review the advertising of every registered health practitioner.”

A spokesman for Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, refused to remark whereas a spokeswoman for TikTok mentioned the corporate valued authenticity and its customers’ shallowness and had insurance policies in opposition to medical misinformation and undisclosed sponsored content material.

“We continually take steps to strengthen our policies and promote body positivity including working with the Butterfly Foundation to encourage body inclusivity and support users who may be struggling with self-image,” TikTok’s spokeswoman mentioned.

Influencers have beforehand revealed how cosmetic surgeons guard their picture, offering discounted or free procedures resembling botox injections in return for glowing testimonials whereas issuing authorized threats over essential evaluations.

A spokesman for Google mentioned: “We have strict content policies to help ensure reviews are based on real-world experiences. Reviews that are not the result of the reviewer’s own experience, including paid reviews, are a violation of our policies.”

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