CANBERRA — Australia’s first “hangover clinic” was based on unfounded treatment methods and could lead to increased binge drinking, according to the country’s leading health group.

The clinic, which opened last month in Sydney, is the first of its kind to hit Australia’s shores, after proving to be increasingly popular in the United States.

The Sydney center administers to its clients a mixture of sodium, minerals, vitamins, oxygen and anti-nausea medication via an intravenous (IV) drip. This apparently reduces the morning-after effects of too much alcohol.

But on Wednesday, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) launched a scathing attack on the new business, saying it was swindling customers with unsubstantiated treatments.

“At worst it can cause harm to people, with unnecessary insertion of intravenous cannula,” AMA vice-president Stephen Parnis told the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) on Wednesday.

Parnis said the treatment, which costs in excess of USD 100 per visit, gave people the impression that they could engage in excessive drinking without incurring any consequences.

“It may get some people to consider that they can write themselves off and that somehow these people will come to the rescue,” he said.

The co-owner of the hangover clinic, Max Petro, rejected Parnis’ claim and said the business freed up Australia’s overcrowded general health clinics.

“Some people have gone to the lengths of going to an emergency ward and saying ‘I feel really sick, can I get some fluids? Can I get some oxygen?’,” said Petro, who plans to expand the business due to its widespread interest, on Wednesday.

“And to the extent that we offer a service where people can come in and get a drip, it takes the pressure off people wasting hospital resources.”

The novelty of “hangover buses” has taken off in the US cities of New York and Las Vegas in recent times, with one business claiming to have already treated 20,000 people. PNA/Xinhua /