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Advertising: Complaints and outcomes

17 May 2019

From 1 July 2018, the TGA is the single body responsible for handling complaints about the advertising of therapeutic goods to the public. A new web form has been introduced for lodging complaints easily online, and we have made a commitment to handle these complaints within certain timeframes.

Making a complaint

If you see an advertisement that looks as though it does not comply with the applicable legislation, you can submit a complaint using our online complaints form.

Before you get started, you should be prepared to provide in-depth information on what concerns you have about a particular advertisement, although you do not need to tell us which section of the legislation you think is being violated.

Make a complaint

How complaints are handled

When you make an advertising complaint, you will receive an email acknowledging the TGA's receipt of your complaint. This email will contain a reference number which you can use to track your complaint.

Complaints are handled in accordance with the TGA's advertising complaints handling policy. We have key performance indicators for actioning and resolving complaints - see Target timeframes for complaint handling (KPIs) below.

Once activities related to your complaint have been completed, the TGA will notify you of the outcome. If your complaint involves multiple advertisers identified by you or the TGA, you will receive notifications on the categorisation, assessment and outcomes for each advertiser.

Complaint outcomes

The outcomes of an advertising complaint will be available online. The information published for each complaint will depend on the categorisation (low, medium, high or critical) of the matter.

Actions, such as directions, infringement notices or enforceable undertakings, taken against an advertiser will be noted in the complaint outcome and published on our website.

View complaint outcomes

For more information on what consequences or penalties advertisers face if the rules are broken, see Sanctions and penalties.

Target timeframes for complaint handling (KPIs)

We handle complaints within certain timeframes depending on the category of the complaint. These form part of our new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and will be publically reported.

Target timeframes for complaint handling
Category Time to action Time to close
Low 95% in 14 days 90% in 20 days
Medium 95% in 40 days 90% in 90 days
High 95% in 20 days 90% in 90 days
Critical 100% in 10 days 90% in 60 days

Application of a 'stop clock'

We will apply a 'stop clock' if we require further information from third parties, such as complainants, advertisers or external experts, as well as if the matter is the subject of a court proceeding. The clock restarts when we receive the requested information, or when the court proceedings are finalised.

The days during the period that the 'stop clock' is applied do not count toward the calculation of the (non-statutory) KPI timeframes.

See TGA's advertising complaints handling policy for examples of the application of this procedure.

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