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FuturePro Pty Ltd and its Director pleads guilty to illegal health claims and supply of bloodroot and gumby gumby alternative medicines

9 March 2022

Gold Coast company FuturePro Pty Ltd (FuturePro), trading as Inet Herbal, has pleaded guilty to seven breaches of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act) for the unlawful import, export, manufacture, supply, and advertising of herbal medicines with claims relating to the prevention and treatment of illnesses including various types of cancers.

The Director of FuturePro, Mr Barnett, plead guilty to a further seven criminal charges, with a sentencing hearing set for 28 April 2022 at Southport Courthouse in Queensland.

The therapeutic products, which were not included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), were illegally advertised as medicines with high end claims, including the prevention and treatment of various forms of cancers along with other medical illnesses including some affecting the immune system, respiratory health, and heart health.

Under the Act, therapeutic goods must be included in the ARTG before they can be lawfully imported, exported, manufactured, supplied or advertised in Australia unless a specific exemption or approval applies.

The illegally advertised therapeutic products included Zenith Salve with DMSO (a Schedule 4 prescription-only medicine), commonly known as bloodroot salve or black salve, Zenith Gentle Salve with DMSO, triple strength bloodroot (capsules), double strength bloodroot (capsules), Gumby Gumby (capsules) and Zen Pain Relief Drops.

Consumers are warned not to use dangerous black salve products. Black salve is a corrosive topical paste and can burn and destroy layers of skin and surrounding tissue. Application can result in dead skin tissue and thick dark scarring. Bloodroot capsules may contain several of the same ingredients as Black Salve and must not be taken by mouth.

The black salve and bloodroot capsules contained the Schedule 10 banned substance Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot) under the current Poisons Standard. This ingredient is of such danger to health it is prohibited from sale, supply and use in Australia.

There is no credible, scientific evidence to substantiate benefits of these products for the management of serious conditions including cancer. The illegal conduct was dangerous and posed a great risk to public health.

The Gumby Gumby capsules were manufactured and advertised on the company's website, social media and eBay. The references to cancer were prohibited without the relevant regulatory permission from the TGA.

Gumby Gumby may have a traditional use as a food or a medicine by the Indigenous Australian population, however is not permitted for use in the form of a processed, encapsulated powder and is not excluded from the requirements of the Act.

The TGA strongly advises consumers against purchasing or using black salve, bloodroot capsules and Gumby Gumby capsules. For more information check the safety alert on black and red salves.

If you suspect non-compliance in relation to therapeutic goods, you can report illegal or questionable practices online to the TGA.

The TGA encourages the reporting of suspected non-compliant advertising.