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Gold Coast GP Michael Tait, 76, is accused of flouting Queensland Medical Board guidelines by administering the worthless anti-cancer drug Ukrain to almost 150 terminally ill cancer sufferers.

I don’t know enough about this case to offer an opinion one way or the other, and it would not be fair to do so before the tribunal’s decision anyway.

But I do know that fake, quack, charlatan, greedy, dishonest, ‘medical’ practitioners are a major problem.

As a clergyman caring for chronically or terminally patients and their families, I was horrified by how often these vulnerable people were targetted by people offering expensive and utterly worthless treatments they claimed had been suppressed by the mainstream medical community because curing cancer, epilepsy, psychiatric illnesses, motor neurone disease, or whatever it was, would put doctors out of business.

I hated seeing desperate and often lonely people spending their last money and their last hopes on vicious scams. So if that is what Tait was doing, I hope the tribunal will have the courage to say so, and stop him practising ever again.

Update

The Queensland Health Practitioners’ Tribunal has found Michael Tait guilty of ‘serious professional misconduct.’ Tait will not be able to register as a medical practitioner for three years after making $1.7 million giving patients the fake anti-cancer drug Ukrain, which contains ingredients also found in dish detergent and toilet cleaner.

OK, good. But isn’t there more to it than this? If some of his patients had been treated properly, would they still be alive? Drug dealers normally have their assets confiscated. Will that happen here? If not, why not?

To answer my own question, because there are no laws in place that would allow the courts to do so. But that really is not good enough. Michael Tait was caught because he was trading on his medical qualifications to sell fake anti-cancer drugs. But he didn’t need to be a doctor to sell people those drugs anyway, and may very well continue to do so.

There are thousands of quacks in Australia who cheat and deceive vulnerable people every day, often in ways that contribute to their death or ongoing ill-health. Please let’s put some laws in place which will proscribe such behaviour, and which have penalties of sufficient substance that they will convince these vicious rip-offs that it is not in their best interests to continue.

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