The Federal Court has today ordered Safe Breast Imaging Pty Ltd (SBI) to pay a penalty of $200,000 for making false representations about its breast imaging services, in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.
Joanne Firth, the sole company director of SBI, was ordered to pay a penalty of $50,000 for her involvement in SBI’s contraventions, and was also disqualified from managing corporations for four years.
In March (MR 51/14), the Court found that SBI had represented that breast imaging using the MEM device could provide an adequate scientific basis for:
- assessing whether a customer was at risk from breast cancer and the level of that risk; and
- assuring a customer that they do not have breast cancer.
SBI had also represented that there was an adequate scientific basis for using the MEM device as a substitute for mammography. The Court has found that, in fact, there was inadequate scientific basis for these claims.
Justice Barker found that “the conduct of Safe Breast Imaging and Ms Firth had the potential to pose a grave risk of serious harm to the health of consumers, who were or were likely to be misled into believing the MEM device could be used for the purposes represented…”.
His Honour noted that “representations that Australian registered doctors were involved in the evaluation of images or the writing of reports, when they were not, and any comfort that customers of the business may have drawn from that, was entirely misplaced”.
The Court also ordered SBI and Ms Firth to post notices on their Facebook pages outlining the Court’s findings. The Court gave the ACCC permission to send that notice to SBI’s customers.
“Consumers are entitled to expect that breast imaging services would be provided with medical oversight and promoted in a way that is consistent with credible scientific knowledge,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
SBI no longer provides breast imaging services.
Women concerned about breast cancer should talk to their GP or call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.