Trading, Markets & Financial industry :: World finance

Advanced medical institute fined 350000 for contempt of court

A SEX clinic that told vulnerable men seeking help for sexual dysfunction their penises would shrink if they didn’t sign-up for treatment has been fined $350,000 for contempt.

Advanced Medical Institute ignored Federal Court orders forbidding it from making claims about its erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation treatment after it was found to have engaged in unconscionable conduct.

Vulnerable men seeking treatment were misled by so-called medical consultants who hid the fact they were sales people working on commission, the court found.

These consultants told some prospective patients they needed treatment or they would suffer adverse medical and social consequences ... including that his penis may shrink or he may become impotent.

Some patients were not physically examined by doctors or properly informed of the side-effects of AMIs treatments. Medication was prescribed over the phone.

Patients who sought a refund were denied their money unless they tried at least one option from each of AMIs available delivery mechanisms, including injections into the base of the penis.

AMI (owned by NRM) recommended treatment plans of 12 to 18 months but in some cases did not diagnose the underlying cause of the problem or whether a referral to a specialist was needed.

It knew that its patients were vulnerable by virtue of their condition, the court ruled.

Federal Court Judge Anthony North in April last year ordered the company to cease making claims about the effectiveness of treatments except where they were made by a qualified medical practitioner during face-to-face consultations.

The company knew male sexual dysfunction is perceived by patients as embarrassing or humiliating and the patients would trust AMI doctors and expect that they would act in their best interests, he said.

Since orders were made on 22 April 2015, NRM continued to broadcast radio and television advertisements and published statements on the Advanced Medical Institute website which breached the orders.

Federal Court Judge Mark Moshinsky on Thursday fined NRM $50,000 for broadcasting radio ads, $200,000 for claims published on its website and $100,000 for a television ad, all of which were in breach of the original order.

At the time of the unconscionable conduct, AMI was bringing in revenue of over $59.3 million in 2008 and $71.5 million in 2009, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The company was also ordered to pay the ACCCs costs.

John Rolfe reveals despicable sales pitches used by the infamous Advanced Medical Institute.

Another rate cut likely next month as mortgage activity surges

FALLING interest rates have sparked a surge in activity among home loan customers, who are likely to receive a second rate cut within weeks courtesy of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Its February rate cut will flow through to most variable-rate mortgages from Friday, and economists now believe the RBA will cut again at its March 3 meeting, following last weeks poor employment data and ongoing economic worries.

Some economists are predicting even more cuts by the end of the year.

HISTORIC LOW: RBA cuts interest rate to 2.25 per cent

The rise in mortgage activity since the announcement of the first rate cut had been phenomenal, said Oracle Lending Solutions managing director Angelo Benedetti, who has noticed a 40 per cent spike in inquiries.

The lights turned on in a lot of peoples heads and the recent rate reduction has sparked them into being more aggressive in the purchase of property. Money is as cheap as it has been in 40 years, he said.

People are saying how much lower can they go? and real estate agents are getting a lot more offers. Its not just people wanting to save money its people saying now is a good time to buy and they are starting the pre-approval process.

Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers manager Richard Bradshaw said interest was up strongly and people were looking at selling, buying, renovations and investment properties.

However, the poor employment figures could create a lot of fear, he said. At the moment theres a great level of activity but we might find in a couple of weeks people are sitting on their hands.

Economists have pencilled in a March rate cut because of weaker-than-expected economic conditions. RBA governor Glenn Stevens said on Friday that unemployment would peak higher than previously forecast.

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said Australias worst unemployment level in 13 years equalled more rate cuts on the way, while HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said borrowers should expect another rate cut in March.

BetaShares chief economist David Bassanese said he expected three more RBA cuts this year, taking the official interest rate from 2.25 per cent today to 1.5 per cent.

The RBA has demonstrated its concern with economic growth. It doesnt see much of an economic upturn and I think in the next few months it will continue to be disappointed and they will have to keep cutting, he said.

Mr Bassanese said even at 1.5 per cent Australias official rate would be lower than other major economies.

Europe and the United States and Japan are all effectively zero, so we still have a long way to go to match them.