The Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science has awarded Dr Ken Harvey the 2016 ANZAAS Medal.
The medal is awarded annually for services for the advancement of science or administration and organisation of scientific activities, or the teaching of science throughout Australia and New Zealand and in contributions to science which lie beyond normal professional activities. Previous winners of the medal include Sir Gus Nossal, Sir Mark Oliphant and Harry Messel.
Dr Harvey is one of Australia’s leading campaigners against non-science based medicines and a critic of pharmaceutical marketing. He has been described by The Age newspaper as an “anti-quackery crusader”, and by Choice as a “serial complainer” – the latter made him a life member for services to the consumer movement in 2012. Australian Skeptics awarded him the Thornett Award for the Promotion of Reason in 2011, and made him a life member in 2013.
Among the wide range of his campaign activities, he is particularly well known in Skeptical circles for his fight against the SensaSlim ‘diet’ product, where the company took him to court in a SLAP suit. Australian Skeptics organised a public fund-raising exercise to cover his legal expenses. He won the case.
Dr Harvey was a member of the expert group that drafted the World Health Organisation “Ethical Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion” and also the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Health and Rational Use of Medicines (PHARM) Committee that formulated the Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) pillar of Australian medicines policy.
He has recently served on the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Transparency Review Panel, the Working Group on Promotion of Therapeutic Products, Medicines Australia Code Review Panel and the Australian government’s Natural Therapy Review Advisory Committee.
He will receive his medal at a ceremony in Melbourne on August 17. It is given this year as part of National Science Week.