Public Warning under s94A of the Health Care Complaints Act – Detoxologie and Ms Fay Fain

14 December 2020

The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission is concerned about various health services provided by Detoxologie and Ms Fay Fain. Services provided include IV infusions (IV Drip Therapy) and colonic irrigation.

The Commission has obtained information that Ms Fain has been inappropriately and unlawfully prescribing and administering Schedule 4 medication. Further, medication used by the clinic has been imported from overseas and has not been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. This means the quality, safety and efficacy of the medication has not been tested. Ms Fain also claims to be a registered nurse, but there is no evidence of her ever being registered as a nurse in Australia.

Further evidence indicates Ms Fain has little knowledge of infection control practices and hygiene at Detoxologie was poor. It appears colonic irrigation devices were not sterilised between use.

Two clients of Detoxologie and Ms Fain have recently been admitted to hospital due to adverse reactions following receipt of IV infusions. It is believed that the adverse reactions were caused by contaminated infusions. Consumers are warned not to seek any health services from Detoxologie or Ms Fain.

There is ongoing liaison with NSW Health, which also has regulatory responsibilities relating to this matter. NSW Health is assessing the risk to the health of consumers who have received services from Detoxologie or Ms Fain, and will be contacting those consumers in the following weeks.

The Commission has already imposed an Interim Prohibition Order and is continuing its investigation.

What should consumers do to protect themselves?

In all cases individuals seeking any form of alternative health therapy should consider the following factors before undergoing any such therapies:

1. Is the procedure supported by a practitioner who is appropriately qualified, experienced and accredited?

Consumers should be vigilant in undertaking research prior to proceeding with any natural therapy medications or medicines and discuss any such proposed therapies with their treating registered  health practitioner. 

Consumers should satisfy themselves that any provider of alternative therapies they wish to undertake are appropriately qualified, particularly with respect to any injections, IV infusions or any therapies or procedures which involve puncturing the skin.

Individuals can check to see if a practitioner is registered in Australia through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) website at www.ahpra.gov.au

Consumers should also make enquiries to inform themselves as to whether any of the therapies involve the administration of medication which should only be prescribed by registered practitioners. A registered medical practitioner or pharmacist can provide accurate information to consumers.

Consumers should be aware that websites offering what may appear to be an impressive array of professional services and alternative therapies may not be approved and services may be provided by non-registered practitioners.

Consumers purchasing coupons or gift certificates for alternative therapies should also consider all the risk factors outlined in this public warning.

Consumers should also be aware that IV infusions may be offered outside a facility, such as at parties and the Commission strongly urges any consumers who encounter this to consider all of the risk factors outlined in this public warning and report any such providers to the Commission.

2. Is the facility appropriately registered, infection controlled and equipped?

Alternative health therapies are wide ranging and there are a number of relevant requirements in legislation regarding the licensing and registration requirements of these facilities.

If there is no registered practitioner working at premises where skin penetration procedures are performed, the facility must be notified to the relevant local council. This enables random inspections to be conducted to monitor compliance with the Regulations. Consumers should also satisfy themselves of the following:

  • The premises needs to be clean and hygienic, and each treatment room should have a waste disposal bin, have a hand basin that has a clean supply of water and have liquid soap and single use towels or a hand dryer for drying hands.

  • Protective equipment needs to be worn by the person carrying out the procedure, including the use of gloves that have never been worn and a clean gown or apron.

  • Needles used must not have been previously used and need to be disposed of using an appropriate sharps container.

  • Medication ampoules must only be used once, and the consumer is entitled to ask that the single use ampules are shown to them before and / or during the procedure.

  • Colonic irrigation devices must be sterilised between use.

3. Are you appropriately informed?

The practitioner performing the procedure should provide the consumer with enough information to make an informed decision about whether to have the procedure. Consumers should be provided with at least the following information:

  • What does the procedure involve?

  • Does it involve skin penetration?

  • Is the procedure new or experimental?

  • What products are being used in the procedure and are these products approved for use in Australia?

  • Are any of the products prescription only medicines?

  • What are the range of possible outcomes of the procedure?

  • What are the risks and possible complications associated with the procedure?

Individuals can also check the website at https://www.tga.gov.au/ to see whether medications or medicines have been approved by the TGA for use in Australia.

4. Adverse reactions

Any person who experiences a serious adverse reaction to any alternative therapy such as light-headedness, chills, vomiting, diarrhoea or loss of consciousness, should call an ambulance.

Further Information

For further information, contact the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on 9219 7444 or send an email to media@hccc.nsw.gov.au.
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