The Therapeutic Goods Administration has fined the Australian branch of a “healing church” more than $150,000 for promoting a solution containing industrial bleach as a cure for coronavirus and other ailments.
The Genesis II Church of Health and Healing’s US leader Mark Grenon (pictured) sells chlorine dioxide as so-called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS). Grenon’s church falsely claims ingesting it can cure COVID-19 and other conditions.
This month it emerged the Australian branch of the church was also selling the product as a “miracle cure” on its website, MMS Australia.
Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) had now issued twelve infringement notices to the Australian company behind the website, totalling $151,200.
The TGA said the website falsely claimed the dangerous solution could treat, cure or prevent diseases including COVID-19, HIV and cancer.
“There is no clinical, scientifically-accepted evidence showing that MMS can cure or alleviate any disease,” the TGA explained.
“The use of MMS presents serious health risks, and can result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and severe dehydration [and] in some cases hospitalisation.”
The MMS Australia website is still selling the products, but with various disclaimers claiming MMS is “not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease”.
‘Healing church’ defends bleach solution as ‘our sacrament’
However, earlier this month a Queensland spokesperson for the church defended the product on religious freedom grounds.
“Do you go into the Catholic church and question them about the wine or the bread that they serve in the Eucharist?” they told the Guardian.
“No, so why doesn’t the world leave us alone? These are our sacraments and we should be free to use it and teach other people to use it.
“You drink enough water, you kill yourself. Similarly we kill ourself by taking our sacrament full strength.
“You take two maybe three drops and you dilute it in a lot of water.
“There are dark forces against us. There are spiritual dark forces trying to get a hold of us. We are under assault.”
Genesis II Church is ‘selling bleach, and it is dangerous’
Public health expert Dr Ken Harvey earlier complained to the TGA about the church, demanding action and fines.
Dr Harvey, an Associate Professor in public health at Monash University, told the ABC the product was essentially “bleach”. He said people had died from drinking it.
“This is bleach, and it is dangerous,” he said.
“Deaths have occurred, serious admissions to hospital from this particular substance.
“It should not be on the market, the authorities should remove it.”
Health authorities in the US and Australia previously warned MMS poses a “serious health risk” if consumed.
Four people were hospitalised in 2014 in Victoria after ingesting the dangerous solution.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.