Dr Daniel Lanzer touted to be Australia’s most prominent celebrity cosmetic surgeon, has received a lot of flak after a recent exposé. After a joint investigation by Four Corners, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, his medical practice was brought into question. In addition, a slew of videos, photos and messages reveal instances of unprofessionalism and dangerous practices.
Dr Lanzer owns clinics and day hospitals across the country; he is a host of a couple of tv shows and is quite popular on social media, thanks to his millions of followers online. For example, in one of the videos posted online, a colleague of Dr Lanzer is seen singing and dancing to a Dolly Parton song Jolene while performing liposuction on an unconscious male patient.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt directed the state health ministers to implement new laws in response to the joint investigation report. The government has published a 108-page Regulation Impact Statement(RIS) that specified titles ‘’surgeon’’ and ‘’cosmetic surgeon’’. In a statement, the government is also seen calling upon the general public to give feedback regarding their experiences and submissions anonymously.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), the national medical regulator, declared its first-ever review into cosmetic surgery and patient surgery. Its detailed report indicated that the cosmetic surgery industry is fiercely profit-driven and involves many hidden and unaccounted dangerous practices.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley- who has been spearheading the policy response by the states and the Commonwealth for the past few years, highlighted an important fact. He pointed out that the title ‘’cosmetic surgeon’’ and ‘’surgeon’’ can confuse patients and lead to harmful outcomes. The current law allows anyone with a basic medical degree to call themselves a certified cosmetic surgeon. When the truth is that specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeons require eight to twelve years of postgraduate surgical training.
The authorities have been well aware of the problems related to the cosmetic surgery industry since the early 1990s. A few probes, series of reviews and parliamentary inquiries have been conducted early on, but they failed to reach any solid conclusion.
The 108-page document covers a series of guidelines and options that aims to restrict the use of the title ‘’surgeon’’ according to the National Law. It will also strengthen the existing framework and give importance to major public information campaigns. It also mentioned that it could be difficult for people to gain genuine information from neutral and informed sources, especially when most cosmetic surgery consumers tend to seek information about particular procedures and practitioners from social media.
Hence the report has also put forward a directive wherein the advertising and marketing material must comply with a series of laws. Any breach of the law for advertising something unlawful can incur financial penalties of $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for a corporate body. There are plans to increase the penalty amount to $60,000 and $120,000, respectively.