Evans’ $15k coronavirus healing device investigated
A $15,000 device that controversial celebrity chef Pete Evans has spruiked is under investigation.
Evans claimed the light frequency machine can fight the deadly coronavirus.
Evans plugged the product - The "BioCharger" - to his Facebook followers on Thursday night, claiming it could treat a range of ailments, including COVID-19.
He described the product, which is listed for sale on his website, as a "pretty amazing tool" which he and his family "use pretty much every day".
However his post, which quickly went viral as people rushed to label the device "ridiculous", caught the attention of The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration who have confirmed to news.com.au are "investigating the product and is monitoring coronavirus-related claims closely".
"The TGA has issued a warning about advertising relating to COVID-19 which reminds consumers that, in Australia, the advertising of therapeutic goods is regulated by the TGA and must meet certain requirements in the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 and the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code," a spokesperson for the Department of Health said.
"The TGA will investigate the product you have referred and take action in relation to any illegal advertising of therapeutic products, including advertising on social media. The TGA is monitoring non-compliance, particularly in relation to the advertising of products that claim to prevent or cure COVID-19."
The device is described on Evans' website as a "hybrid subtle energy revitalisation platform" that uses "four transmitted energies (to) stimulate and invigorate the entire body to optimise and improve potential health, wellness, and athletic performance".
A video explaining how it works tells users "just sit comfortably in front of the BioCharger and select a frequency recipe from the menu".
One "non-invasive" session takes just 12 minutes and as many as six people can sit in front of the device at one time, according to Evans' website.
"It's programmed with about 1000 different recipes, there's one in there for the Wuhan coronavirus," Evans said.
Dr Harry Nespolon, President of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, has warned Australians to "steer clear" of the device.
"Several months ago I advised anti-vaxxer and celebrity chef Pete Evans that he should stick to talking about 'activated almonds' and leave vaccinations alone," Dr Nespolon said,
"Well, he should also steer well clear of peddling devices which he claims use 'subtle energy' to counter COVID-19. He just needs to stop it right now.
"It is a reality that many people look up to Mr Evans in his roles as a popular chef and television host," he added.
"I once again urge him to book an appointment with his local GP to learn about the damage he is doing on social media."
Brisbane-based dietitian Mandy-Lee Noble shared the video on Twitter on Thursday night, calling the TGA and NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard to "shut Evans down".
"Pete Evans is selling this ridiculous device for US$15K claiming it has some action against 'Wuhan coronavirus'," she wrote.
Pete Evans is selling this ridiculous device for US$15K claiming it has some action against ‘Wuhan Coronavirus’. @BradHazzard, @TGAgovau and the NSW HCCC when are you going to shut Evans down? @Channel7 when will you stop giving Evans a platform? pic.twitter.com/r0tJZzGN0w— Mandy-Lee Noble APD (@mandyleenoble) April 9, 2020
Ms Noble told news.com.au yesterday Evans was acting irresponsibly.
"Although this device is unlikely to cause direct harm it can cause indirect harm if people believe it will treat or prevent COVID-19 infection," she said.
She said items like this were "a risk to the community response to the COVID-19 pandemic."
News.com.au has reached out to Evans for comment.
In the past Evans has been widely criticised for giving unsubstantiated health and medical advice.
In 2017, he promoted the paleo diet as a treatment for chronic diseases as severe as diabetes, cancer and autism in children which was slammed the Australian Medical Association.
He also promoted a DIY bone broth for infants that experts were particularly concerned about as it "contained more than 10 times the safe maximum daily intake of vitamin A for babies and inadequate levels of other nutrients".
- With Rohan Smith
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Originally published as Evans' $15k virus device investigated