08 Apr 2019

Health Complaints Commissioner issues warning to Victorians against South American poison, kambo

Two South Australian healers who allegedly provide treatments to Melbourne clients involving the topical application of an Amazonian frog’s secretions, have been issued with interim prohibition orders temporarily banning the provision of their services.

Health Complaints Commissioner Karen Cusack said the treatment, known as kambo, can cause pain, dizziness, shaking, swelling, fainting and severe vomiting.

Ms Cusack said the interim prohibition orders banned South Australians Carlie J. Angel and Brad T. Williams, trading as Two Wolves – One Body, from advertising, offering or providing any general health service in Victoria, paid or otherwise, that involved, or were in any way related to, kambo.

She said the interim orders also banned Ms Angel and Mr Williams from directing or operating any business in Victoria that involved kambo.

Ms Cusack said the interim orders would remain in place while the HCC conducted an own-motion investigation.

She issued a warning to all Victorians, urging the public to contact the HCC if they had a complaint or a concern about a kambo provider.

“I’m incredibly concerned about any services that are claiming to provide health benefits by using the South American poison, kambo,” she said.

“Kambo is often applied into open wounds created specifically for that purpose.

“It’s not been registered for therapeutic use in Australia and can cause immediate side effects in some people, including severe vomiting, dizziness, fainting and swelling of the lips and face. In some cases, there is even a risk of dangerous side effects, including seizures and death, especially if the kambo enters the bloodstream.”

Ms Cusack encouraged Victorians to consult a healthcare professional before considering the use of any alternative therapies.

She said it was important that members of the public were aware of the code of conduct that all general health services, including healers, must adhere to.

“The code is in place to protect consumers,” Ms Cusack said.

“It’s a breach of the code for a general health service provider to treat clients in a way that is unsafe or unethical, and to dissuade someone from seeking or continuing medical treatment.

“Victorians should be aware of the code and know exactly what they have a right to expect from their health service provider.”

A copy of the code of conduct can be found at hcc.vic.gov.au/public.

Anyone with a complaint about a health service in Victoria can contact the Health Complaints Commissioner on 1300 582 113 or via the online complaints form.