Calls to investigate Te Kiri Gold bleach water as Medsafe reviews public claims
Calls for an investigation into supposed cancer-killing water Te Kiri Gold are building.
The water's inventors are careful not to say 'cancer cure' in public, but terminally ill patients are being given material claiming in no uncertain terms the water kills cancer cells.
Consumer NZ says an investigation is needed, and is urging the public to lodge complaints with the Commerce Commission.
Te Kiri Gold (TKG), an electrolysed water containing hypocholorus acid, has been widely dismissed by medical experts but continues to be sold to terminally ill cancer patients for $100 a two-litre bottle.
Taranaki dairy farmer Vernon Coxhead and Hawera GP Dr Mitchell Feller, shareholders in the company making the product, have a disclaimer on the product's website saying no claims of "improvement of well-being, tumor [sic] reduction or cancer remission" are made.
But a letter provided to patients seeking more information about TKG says: "Experience suggests that the TKG begins killing the cancer cells as soon as you begin ingesting it and patients will feel better for the first few days."
Patients are told that blood tests and scan results after eight weeks of taking TKG are "very encouraging".
A dosage rate of 200-600ml a day is recommended, and when the patient is "sable [sic] or in remission", this can be reduced to 50ml a day.
"Most people prefer to remain on TKG at this rate for the rest of their lives."
Vernon Coxhead denied he made any claims about Te Kiri Gold benefiting patients.
"No, I don't make any claims, it's on the website."
When asked about the letter informing patients TKG would kill cancer, he hung up.
Consumer NZ advisor Maggie Edwards said the Commerce Commission ought to use its powers to compel the makers of TKG to substantiate the "troublesome" claims.
Material on the site made claims of therapeutic benefit that would fall within the Fair Trading Act, she said.
"Even trying to get round it by saying, 'we are not claiming it cures, but people have said', that's still misleading in the way that it is marketed. It could be a breach of the Fair Trading Act."
Edwards urged people to lodge a complaint with the Commerce Commission.
A spokesperson for the Commerce Commission said they had received one complaint regarding Te Kiri Gold, which had not yet been assessed.
New Zealand Law Society's health law committee chair Adam Lewis said the Te Kiri Gold website was carefully worded to suggest no direct claims of medical benefit.
"Which seems inconsistent to me with the manufacturer of it saying, 'but if I stop making it people are going to miss out on their cures'.
"That strikes me as promoting a medicine."
Lewis said a government agency should test the product to ensure public safety.
Medicines regulator Medsafe declined interview requests, but in an emailed statement general manager Chris James said the agency was reviewing public information for potential breaches of the Medicines Act.
Under the Medicines Act it is unlawful for a medical advertisement to state or suggest a product will have a beneficial effect on the health of a person.