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Advertising therapeutic goods: Natural claims on medicines and medical devices: naturally compelling?
Advertisers of medicines and medical devices sometimes promote on labels and in other advertising that their product is ‘natural’ or contains ‘natural’ ingredients. Variations of this claim include 'all natural', '100% natural', or 'naturally derived'. These claims can influence a consumer’s choice of medicine or medical device.
In Australia, laws protect consumers from being misled by advertising claims. Advertisers of medicines and medical devices must ensure that they follow our advertising requirements when making natural claims.
What does natural mean when used in advertisements for medicines and medical devices?
We have published guidance for advertisers on how to use ‘natural’ claims appropriately when advertising medicines and medical devices. Following our guidance will help advertisers of medicines and medical devices comply with our advertising requirements.
An advertiser may choose to specify in the advertising how exactly the medicine or medical device, or its ingredients, can be considered ‘natural’. For example:
- for a ‘natural’ vitamin C product, the advertising explains that 90% of the vitamin C in the product has been obtained from natural food sources, including rosehip
- for a ‘natural’ turmeric product, the advertising explains that the product does not contain artificial colours, chemical preservatives or any other synthetic ingredients.
If there is no explanation of the natural claim in the advertisement, the advertiser should ensure that:
- the starting or 'raw material' from which the specified ingredient or product is derived is a form found in nature (such as a plant), and
- the product or ingredient has only undergone 'minimal processing' (e.g. freeze drying, grinding, extraction or fermentation), and
- the 'natural' product or ingredient is chemically identical (i.e. must stay the same chemical) to the raw starting material.
Advertisers must hold evidence that substantiates any claims, and provide this evidence to the TGA if asked. All other advertising requirements apply. Our full guidance on using natural claims in advertisments can be found at Therapeutic goods advertising: Ensuring 'natural' claims are not misleading.