The New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission has issued the following warning against the countrys leading health menace.
The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission has completed an investigation into the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network, Inc. (‘AVN’), formerly known as Australian Vaccination Network Inc and under section 94A(1) of the Health Care Complaints Act has decided to make the following public statement and warning. The Commission investigated whether information published and disseminated by AVN may be misleading or inaccurate.
AVN was established in 1994 in New South Wales by a group of people concerned about the lack of scientifically-based information cautioning against vaccination. AVN states on its website that the government and the medical community, in general, “exaggerate the safety and benefit profiles of vaccinations whilst downplaying their risks.” AVN states it was formed with the purpose of:
- providing medically-referenced information on vaccine safety and effectiveness
- lobbying to ensure that vaccinations are never made compulsory for Australian children
- supporting those who have chosen not to vaccinate or to vaccinate selectively.
AVN disseminates information to the public via a variety of mediums. These include its website, www.avn.org.au, the magazine entitled ‘Living Wisdom’ (which ceased publication in January 2013), its Facebook page, Twitter account and YouTube. Meryl Dorey, the former President, has also held a number of radio interviews.
The Commission investigation focussed on information provided on AVN’s website and some information disseminated on AVN’s Facebook page.
The Commission has established that AVN does not provide reliable information in relation to certain vaccines and vaccination more generally. The Commission considers that AVN’s dissemination of misleading, misrepresented and incorrect information about vaccination engenders fear and alarm and is likely to detrimentally affect the clinical management or care of its readers.
Given the issues identified with the information disseminated by AVN, the Commission urges general caution is exercised when using AVN’s website or Facebook page to research vaccination and to consult other reliable sources, including speaking to a medical practitioner, to make an informed decision.
The Commission has recommended that AVN amend its published information with regard to the above issues and the Commission will monitor the implementation of these recommendations.
The AVN has responded with hostility accusing the Health Care Complaints Commission of corruption and incompetence by saying.
In a move that displays the worst of medical politics, the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) has once again issued a public warning against the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network, Inc. (AVN). This office and the way in which they have carried out their ‘investigation’ are an absolute disgrace. They have made themselves into a laughing stock. Far worse, they have clearly demonstrated that nobody can have faith in any statements made by this government body when they continue to rely upon verifiably incorrect and biased information.
Several years ago, the HCCC conducted a year-long ‘investigation’ into our citizen-run healthcare consumer watchdog group. They did this at the behest of the Australian Skeptics and their splinter group, Stop the AVN – organisations with close ties to pharmaceutical and mainstream medical interests. -Meryl Dorey, 1st May 2014
Contrary to Ms Doreys claims, Stop the AVN receives no funding from any government body or pharmaceutical company. It is a volunteer run group of concerned citizens dedicated to shutting down her organisation and protecting the public from the misinformation spread by the Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network.
During the course of the investigation the AVN attempted to identify the HCCCs experts. We don't know why, but given the AVNs history of harassing and abusing anyone who blows the whistle on them we can probably guess their most likely motive.
The latest moves by Australian regulators should send a clear message to Ms Dorey and the AVN that you cannot simply lie, cheat and bully your way out of the law.