A Queensland chiropractor-turned-alternative healer sold bottled water as a vaccine for the deadly Hendra virus.
Peter Lindsay Esdaile also claimed the water could treat chickenpox and German measles, while another product he promoted could relieve snake bites, herbicide and pesticide poisoning and paralysis ticks.
Esdaile, who worked as an equine chiropractor in Warwick, west of Brisbane, relabelled the water by hand and sold it for $35 a bottle to a buyer from January 2013.
A number he wrote on the bottle was said to be a potency rating.
He marketed it as "safe and effective" and better than the recommended Hendra virus vaccine because it was non-toxic.
"It doesn't matter whether you give it to a horse or yourself. That should give you the protection you need," he said in a video on his "Equine Energy" website in mid-2015.
Esdaile came under the microscope of health authorities in late 2015 after calling himself a chiropractor despite surrendering his registration to practise in the field several months earlier.
He later admitted that there was "nothing" in the product apart from water and it had not clinically tested.
The only evidence he gave of its effectiveness was his own word.
In his defence, he said claims the water was ineffective was unproven by any authority with expertise in "energy" health care, "so I propose that the argument is totally invalid until we are able to demonstrate my claims".
Esdaile poses serious risk as a health practitioner because of his false claims, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled this week.
"These claims put the public at risk from unvaccinated horses who may contract the virus upon their owners' reliance on Mr Esdaile's alternative product," QCAT Judge Suzanne Sheridan said in her judgment.
Esdaile has been prohibited from advertising, promoting, and supplying any remedy, vaccine or treatment not endorsed by science-based medicine.
Australian Associated Press
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