The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has applied for an order to “preserve” the assets of SensaSlim, the company promoting a ‘weight loss’ product and which has also taken legal action against health campaigner Dr Ken Harvey for defamation.
The application will be heard in the Federal Court in Sydney on June 23 at 12 noon.
While the application is based on a claim of “misleading or deceptive conduct”, a spokesperson for the ACCC would only confirm the preservation order and not the specifics of the application.
An extensive investigation by reporters for The Age has found a string of “dodgy” websites and supposed experts supporting for or working with SensaSlim. These include photos of executives of the Swiss institute which supposedly researched the efficacy of the ‘weight loss’ product. The executives shown on the Intercontinental Research Institute’s site included photos of medical practitioners actually from St Paul, Minnesota, who had nothing to do with either the Institute or SensaSlim. When the Age reporters queried SensaSlim on this, the names on the photos were changed.
Similarly the website for Mountebank Clinic, which is claimed to be a sleep clinic in rural NSW, uses the same pictures of staff who are Minnesota-based rather than in Australia. Qualifications cited are also from Australian universities, whereas the real people have American qualifications. At time of writing, those pictures were still on the site, although the details on the clinic’s director, “Dr Balsamo”, had disappeared.
We will keep you informed of the results of the ACCC’s Federal Court case.