Breast Imaging Company Receives Heavy Penalties for Duping Women

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Cancer Council Western Australia says the hefty penalty handed to a breast imaging company by the Federal Court for providing unproven breast imaging services will result in far fewer Australian women being duped by these unscrupulous practices.

The Federal Court has imposed a penalty of $200,000 against Safe Breast Imaging Pty Ltd for providing unproven breast imaging services to women in Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales.

The court found Safe Breast Imaging Pty Ltd engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, and its director, Joanne Firth, was found liable as an accessory, fined $50,000 and disqualified from managing a company for four years.

The court proceedings, which were initiated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), heard the company, which used electrical impedance devices, claimed that its services could be used to reassure a customer that she did not have breast cancer and to assess her risk of breast cancer.

It also represented that the device could be used as an effective substitute for mammography.

The court held that all of these representations were without an adequate scientific and medical basis.

The company was also found to have falsely claimed that a medical doctor was involved in interpreting images and preparing a “breast health report”.

Terry Slevin, Cancer Council WA Director of Education and Research, said the penalties send a strong message to all commercial operators.

“The prosecution pursued by the ACCC has resulted in this misleading practice of commercial operations offering unproven breast cancer testing to all but disappear from the Australian landscape,” Mr Slevin said. 

“We congratulate and thank the ACCC for their work on this case, which we believe has resulted in far fewer Australian women being duped by these unscrupulous practices,” he said.

The Federal Court is expected to soon hand down a judgment on penalties in relation to Breast Check Pty Ltd, which made misleading representations about its breast thermography service in Mosman Park, Western Australia.

Both cases were brought to the attention of the ACCC by the Cancer Council Western Australia as a result in the growth in the number of commercial operators offering unproven breast cancer testing services, and concerns in the way they were being aggressively promoted.


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