Maverick MP Craig Kelly has fired back at reports the national drug regulator is preparing to take legal action over misinformation in spam texts sent to millions of Australian mobile numbers.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration confirmed last week it had sought legal advice about whether a website linked in one of the texts sent out in Mr Kelly’s name breaches the Criminal Code.
The TGA regulates the use and advertising of medicines across Australia. The offending text message – authorised by the former Liberal MP and now leader of Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party – linked to a website that used the TGA’s logo and out-of-context data from the authority on adverse reactions to COVID vaccines.
The TGA is considering whether use of its logo as in the UAP messages breaches copyright legislation and the Criminal Code Act 1995.
The Act relates to federal crimes, and makes it illegal to impersonate or falsely represent a Commonwealth body, which includes the TGA. If found guilty, a person can face up to two years in jail for the offence.
But in a tweet on Monday, a defiant Mr Kelly told the TGA to “bring it on”.
“Of course, any such legal action would require the government health regulators to give evidence under oath and we have a team of top-notch barristers salivating at the opportunity to get them in the dock and cross-examine them. And we can subpoena documents,” he wrote.
“So, bring it on, fellas.”
In a follow-up tweet, Mr Kelly listed some of the “top-notch medical witnesses I’d call on in standing up for medical freedom”. They included Dr Peter McCullough from the controversial Melbourne-based Covid Medical Network, British proponent of Ivermectin Dr Tess Lawrie and emeritus professor Robert Clancy, an advocate for using the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat the virus.
Last week, the TGA said it was aware of false claims circulating based on misinterpretation of information published on its public Database of Adverse Event Notifications, and in similar databases overseas.
“Reporting of an adverse event on the DAEN does not mean that the vaccine caused the event. Information on the DAEN cannot be used to evaluate whether a medicine or a vaccine is safe,” it said.
“We encourage people to rely on credible information sources when making decisions about vaccination.”