The Federal Court, Brisbane has found that Darryl Jones, principal of the Darryl Jones Health Resolution Centre, engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to certain cancer prevention and treatment claims.
The representations were contained on the Darryl Jones Health Resolution Centre website (www.darryljoneshealth.com.au) and in an electronic book written by Mr Jones and sold through that site entitled The Truth About Overcoming Cancer.
Some of the claims included that the treatments offered by Mr Jones:
- were effective in treating and preventing cancer
- were proven to bring even the worst cancers under control, and
- together with an exercise program, were more effective in treating cancer than pharmaceutical drugs, radium, surgery and chemotherapy.
Mr Jones' treatment program included reducing or eliminating glucose from the diet and ingesting high levels of Laetrile (also known as Amygdalin) that is sourced in such foodstuffs as apricot kernels.
The program cost $2,900 for the first three months and $1,500 for every three months thereafter.
The court found that Mr Jones' claims were untrue, that he had no reasonable basis for making the representations and possessed no reliable current scientific evidence or expert medical opinion to support them.
According to an expert oncologist engaged by the ACCC, whose evidence was accepted by the court, taking high levels of Laetrile can result in cyanide toxicity and glucose elimination can cause weight loss and imbalanced metabolism.
Justice Logan made final orders which included:
- declarations that Mr Jones contravened sections 52 and 53(c) of the Trade Practices Act 1974
- injunctions permanently restraining Mr Jones from making claims that his treatments can prevent or successfully treat any medical condition unless he first has obtained written advice from an appropriately qualified medical practitioner or academic certifying that the proposed treatment is, in the opinion of that person, supported by reliable current scientific evidence or expert medical opinion and is believed to be effective and safe
- a requirement that Mr Jones take steps to cause third parties to cease representing themselves to be him or to be acting on his behalf and to cease making representations which are the subject of the court orders, should he become aware that this is occurring
- the placing of a notice informing people of the court outcome on Mr Jones' website, www.darryljoneshealth.com.au, and any other website controlled by him within the next three months of the order, and
- an order that Mr Jones is to pay the ACCC's costs of the proceedings.
In his judgment, Justice Logan found that: "the nature of the proven contraventions and the public interest tells decisively in favour of the granting of injunctive relief" and that such broad relief was appropriate as "Anything less would not offer adequate protection to the public in general and those suffering from or whose loved ones are suffering from cancer."
ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said the ACCC acted in the public interest to protect vulnerable people who are fighting serious or terminal illnesses.
"The treatment promoted by Mr Jones was not only without a reliable current scientific or medical basis, but it was potentially dangerous as well. The ACCC urges anyone suffering from cancer to seek advice from a suitably qualified medical practitioner.
"The ACCC could not seek penalties in this case as the conduct occurred prior to the introduction of the civil penalty regime which began in April 2010," he said.
On 1 January 2011 as part of Australian Consumer Law amendments the Trade Practices Act 1974 was renamed the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
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