It promised to help men lift their mood, masculinity and mojo. But a now-defunct Australian business known as the Australian Male Hormone Clinic has been hit with stiff penalties, after being convicted of 17 charges of unlawful advertising.
Its parent company, Wellness Enterprises Pty Ltd, has been fined $127,500 plus costs over a series of ‘advertorial’ style advertisements that appeared in Australian newspapers between February and August this year.
The advertisements, often featuring a burly, bearded man, promised to help those battling low testosterone to regain their masculine powers. Among other things, the business declared its treatments would increase muscle size, burn belly fat, help men satisfy their sexual partners and feel “happier, younger and more alive”. Clients would also wake up in the morning “bursting with powerful energy,” according to the advertisements.
However the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) begged to differ, challenging the validity of the claims.
Wellness Enterprises, which was incorporated in April 2016 and placed in voluntary liquidation last month, was found guilty in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday over unlawful advertising of regulated health services.
It was the first time that a corporation, rather than an individual health practitioner, has been convicted following advertising charges of this nature brought by AHPRA.
The agency’s CEO Martin Fletcher welcomed the court’s decision, saying AHPRA’s primary objective was to protect the public.
“Advertising can heavily influence a patient’s decision-making around their healthcare needs and information in advertising must be accurate and based on acceptable evidence,” he said.