There’s nothing I despise more than quacks who prey on the sick and vulnerable for their own financial gain.

For example, hair analysis (see here and here) proponents who claim to able to cure all manner of incurable illnesses by identifying food allergies with magic machines are particularly offensive to me. Advice such as, “Just cut out tomatoes and walnuts, drink gin but not wine and your terminal cancer will magically go away” are just about the lowest of lows in my opinion.

Today I heard about a new scam artist on the prowl in Sydney. His name is (name removed for legal reasons), a man with no medical or scientific training but who claims to have invented or discovered an organic formula to cure AIDS, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. A report by Harley Dennett detailing these claims appeared in the Sydney Star Observer on Thursday February 5 th.

The report states the man, who runs a skylight installation business on the Northern beaches “produced magnified pictures of blood cells to justify his cure claim” (which sounds suspiciously like live blood analysis to me..). According to the report, he would not let the Star Observer retain the photos for examination claiming;

“I’ve got the negatives but I’d rather keep those in a top secret facility”.

“The pharmaceuticals don’t want this getting out, so I’m trying to keep it low profile with like-minded people I can trust”.

The Star Observer reports the man has previously been investigated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). On this occasion, the man has allegedly been soliciting for donations to fund a backyard trial for his top secret cure-all.

Professor Sean Emery from the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research said anyone claiming a cure or asking for money should set off alarm bells. “Often people who peddle these things say there’s a conspiracy against them, that the drug companies don’t want you to know about their treatments”.

Soliciting donations for a dubious clinical trial is not illegal in Australia but the government’s SCAMwatch website advises victims to report cases to authorities via SCAMwatch or directly to the TGA.

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