Australia’s cosmetic surgery industry under attack in the media

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Australia’s multi-billion dollar cosmetic surgery industry has come under attack from the media. A series of surveys conducted by age, Four Corners and 60 Minutes uncovered horror stories about operators and shonky operations that left patients disfigured and in pain. Pressure is mounting for the Commonwealth government to call a royal commission to investigate the industry after a succession of scandals.

Allan Fels, the former head of Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission, one of the country’s most prominent officials, wrote in age that the industry needs shock therapy and should be temporarily shut down:

The only way to achieve the significant and urgent change needed to protect the public from serious injury is for health ministers and the national regulator (AHPRA) to shut down the entire industry for three to six months. . This would quickly bring about real change and help overcome the lethargy shown by all parties involved – practitioners, regulators, politicians – in the face of the continuing dangers to consumers resulting from current and widespread dangerous malpractices.

Only when the government feels there have been substantial changes should the industry be reopened, he says. “Anything less will cause serious harm and distress to consumers. »

Doctors involved in the industry have tried to silence the critics. Dr. Fels writes:

…they have a history of trying to intimidate public industry commentators, including at times when they might appear before public inquiries. I myself received strong legal threats of libel action seeking damages for a single article in this journal a few months ago, from the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery and Medicine.

Cosmetic surgery is sold as a consumer product:

Its proponents trivialize the nature of the surgical work performed with language such as “tummy tuck”, “Brazilian butt lift” and “pannier” procedures. In addition, any doctor can perform cosmetic surgery with a minimum of special training.

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