Hance Limboro said he did not see the content of the advertisements before they went online. (Facebook)
A Sydney chiropractor who falsely claimed spinal manipulation treatments could prevent and cure cancer has had his registration to practise cancelled.
Hance Limboro was the first Australian to be prosecuted by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency last year for misleading advertising relating to a series of articles on a website called Cancer Cure Sydney.
He was convicted of 11 counts of false and misleading advertising and two counts of using testimonials to advertise a regulated health service in February last year and fined $29,500.
Two of the articles were titled: “Chiropractic Treatment as a Cancer Cure” and “Cancer Prevention with Regular Chiropractic Treatment”.
On Monday the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal cancelled his registration, describing his actions as “calculated”, “unethical” and “predatory”.
It also prohibited him from providing any health service for two years.
The Cancer Cure Sydney website included claims such as “cancer is 100 per cent preventable” and “by having a regular visit to a chiropractor, people can rest assured that they are prevented from having cancer”.
“A natural cancer cure that most people choose nowadays is chiropractic treatment as it has no significant side effects and guarantees long-term relief,” one advertisement claimed.
Mr Limboro argued that, while he had been found guilty of the offences, he had not claimed to cure cancer himself and was still a suitable person to be a chiropractor.
He told the tribunal hearing he had not written nor read the relevant articles before they were posted online and that he had employed a third party to build content that linked back to the website for his CBD clinic.
He said he had paid a heavy price for “poor delegation and not checking the material because it was made available in the general public”.
Limboro an ‘active participant’, tribunal found
Under cross examination, Mr Limboro said he did not think that using the word “cure” in the website’s name would mislead the public as the word also meant “pickled”.
However, when repeatedly pressed he did eventually concede that at least some people searching for the word “cure” in association with “cancer” may actually have cancer and be seeking a cure.
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Mr Limboro was not suitable for registration as a chiropractor and his offences rendered him “unfit in the public interest to practise”.
It found that he took no steps to stay up-to-date with advertising standards and failed to understand why the material on his website may be dangerous or misleading.
“Of far greater concern is the finding that the practitioner was an active participant in a calculated scheme to cast a wide net of false and misleading website names, keywords and content intended to capture the traffic of those searching for health information and assistance concerning cancer, and then divert them to his business,” the judgment said.
“This conduct was extremely unethical and unprofessional; it was from the outset a predatory business venture, not an unintentional failing through oversight or lack of attention to developing standards.”