Formal probe into MP’s former company
THE nation's pharmaceutical regulator has moved to formally investigate a Gold Coast natural remedies company that spruiked an unapproved mineral supplement when Southport MP Rob Molhoek was its sole director.
PremaLife, which also trades as Natural Vitality Australia, was advertising and selling high-strength colloidal silver products, which can leave those who misuse it with "Smurflike" side effects which can irreversibly turn users' skin blue.
In a post 'liked' by Mr Molhoek, the company's Instagram account described the substance as "super effective", adding it could "heal the body" and had potential benefits for wounds, skin conditions, ear infections, viruses, inflammation, sinusitis, colds and flu.
"Colloidal silver is a natural anti-inflammatory that works fast to reduce swelling, repair inflammation in the skin or body," the company said.
The supplement is only permitted in Australia for use as a water sanitiser.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration this week said it had assessed the alleged breaches and had proceeded to an investigation.
It said it had categorised the case as a "medium" priority, meaning it involved "ongoing advertising breaches or where the advertiser has been made aware of their advertising obligations and blatantly advertises therapeutic goods in a non-compliant manner".
The company had come under fire before, for promoting the silver product in 2016.
The latest advertising was taken down after the Bulletin's reporting in November, and Mr Molhoek resigned as director on January 23.
Those found breaching regulations on therapeutic goods can face penalties ranging from a warning letter to hefty fines and imprisonment, with penalties for corporations liable to have penalties multiplied by five.
The advertising strife with PremaLife came as the company brought in new Malaysian shareholders and struggled with tax debt and a mortgage.
Related company Natural Remedies Group (NRG), had collapsed with debts over $1.3 million six months earlier, shortly after Mr Molhoek stepped down as a director.
PremaLife is partly owned by the MP's former fiancee, wealthy Chinese businesswoman Weiqun "Lucy" Gu, and is now majority owned by Malaysian company Natural Health and Education, which is headed by transgender pop star Jessie Chung.
Company records list PremaLife's current sole director as Gaven resident Chuen Meng Tee, 40.
The Malaysian company that owns the majority of PremaLife also owned 60 per cent of failed West Burleigh coconut oil company Nature Pacific, which owed it more than $977,000 when it collapsed in July last year.