A Perth-based breast imaging company has been fined $200,000 and its manager $50,000 after being found guilty of false and misleading conduct.
A breast imaging company has been fined $200,000 and its manager fined $50,000 for deceptively promoting a service as an alternative to mammograms.
Between August 2009 and December 2011, Safe Breast Imaging falsely represented on its website, in a video, in pamphlets and in information given to customers that its multi-frequency electrical impedance mammograph (MEM) device could medically assess whether a person was at risk from breast cancer and assured clients they did not have the disease.
The business attracted more than 1200 customers in 150 locations across Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and NSW.
Safe Breast Imaging was convicted of deceptive and misleading conduct, and the Federal Court ordered on Tuesday it pay $200,000 and its manager, Joanne Firth, pay $50,000 and be disqualified from managing companies for four years.
Justice Michael Barker said the conduct had the potential to pose “a grave risk of serious harm” to the health of consumers, and the sentence was important to deter others from committing similar offences.
“While the respondents may consider the pecuniary penalties imposed on them to be high or harsh, I consider them … to be necessary to ensure others who might be inclined to engage in similar behaviour to the cost of consumers are deterred from doing so,” he said.
The legal action was instigated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Cancer Council WA director of education and research Terry Slevin said the penalties sent a strong message to commercial operators.
“We congratulate and thank the ACCC for their work on this case, which we believe has resulted in far fewer Australian women being duped by these unscrupulous practices,” he said.