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Advertising: Advertising Code and guidance

11 June 2019

Advertisers (including sponsors, manufacturers, importers, pharmacists and health professionals) need to be aware of their responsibilities when advertising therapeutic goods to the public. Advertisers should make themselves familiar with the following materials before advertising therapeutic goods in Australia.

The Australian Regulatory Guidelines for Advertising Therapeutic Goods (ARGATG)

The Australian Regulatory Guidelines for Advertising Therapeutic Goods (ARGATG) provides information to advertisers about:

  • advertising compliantly under the regulatory framework
  • the requirements for advertising different types of therapeutic good
  • approvals that are needed before advertising
  • enhanced sanctions and penalties for non-compliant advertising
  • the kinds of activities that represent advertising
  • advertising therapeutic goods with related services
  • advertising specific types of therapeutic goods
  • advertising interface products
  • the handling of advertising complaints

Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (the Code)

The Code sets the requirements advertisers must meet to ensure the marketing and advertising of their therapeutic goods is:

  • conducted in a manner that promotes the quality use of the product
  • socially responsible
  • doesn't mislead or deceive the consumer

The Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No.2) 2018 is available on the Federal Register of Legislation and takes effect on 1 January 2019.

Information about previous versions of the Advertising Code is available.

Guidance: Advertising to the public

We have published guidance to help advertisers comply with the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No. 2) 2018. This guidance aims to provide further information about the understanding, interpretation and application of the Code.

Questions and answers on the Advertising Code

During our training sessions and webinars on the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No.2) 2018 (the Code), we received a large number of queries that we undertook to publish responses to.

We have released answers to some of the most common questions and will add to these on a regular basis.

Restricted representations

A restricted representation is any reference expressly or by implication, to a serious disease, condition, ailment or defect which is generally accepted to be:

  • not appropriate to be diagnosed and/or treated without consulting a suitably qualified health professional; and/or
  • beyond the ability of the average consumer to evaluate accurately and to treat safely without regular supervision by a qualified health professional.

Application for approval to use a restricted representation in advertising
Form to apply for approval to use a restricted representation in advertising

Restricted representations
Detailed information on the use of restricted representations in advertisements

Notices of approved & permitted restricted representations
These are the written notices of approval or permission for the use of restricted representations in advertising therapeutic goods to consumers

Pre-approval

Fact sheet - Requirements for pre-approval
Advertisements for medicines require pre-approval before they can appear in 'specified media' (such as television, radio, magazines and newspapers)

Application for approval of advertising for medicines
This form is for applying for the approval of advertisements in specified media to which Division 2 of Part 2 of the Therapeutic Goods Regulations applies

For additional educational tools and fact sheets to help you understand your advertising requirements, see Advertising basics, general information and enquiries.

Other resources

Therapeutic goods advertising: Ensuring 'natural' claims are not misleading
This guidance provides information for industry on how claims about the 'naturalness' of a particular therapeutic good and/or its ingredients can be made without misleading consumers

Guidelines for advertisements for medicines containing Schedule 3 substances
This guidance is for those interested in the advertising of pharmacist-only medicines

Sample social media acceptable use policy
To help advertisers comply with the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code, we've provided a social media acceptable use policy that advertisers can use on their digital platforms

Fact sheet - Complying with the new Advertising Code: Tips to help advertisers

Fact sheet - Complying with the new Advertising Code: Tips to help pharmacists

Fact sheet - Advertising health products: Rules about safety claims in advertising