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Therapeutic Goods Advertising Consultative Committee, 13 June 2019

Communique

2 July 2019

The third meeting of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Consultative Committee was held in Sydney on 13 June 2019. TGACC members represent a diverse range of stakeholders with an interest in advertising of therapeutic goods, including consumer bodies, industry and health practitioners.

The TGA provided an update on activities undertaken since the meeting held on 21 March 2019 including; application of a 'stop-clock' to the assessment of Key Performance Indicators, as outlined in the complaints handling framework, guidance on the use of ‘natural’ in advertising, and an update on published materials available. The TGA has also established an advertising email subscription list for stakeholders interested in advertising therapeutic goods in Australia.

The TGA presented an overview of guidance under development for advertisers in regards to medicinal cannabis and disease awareness activities. Members discussed the impact of this guidance on consumers. Further consideration of member feedback will be undertaken prior to finalising the guidance. Guidance will be published on the TGA website and consumer education material will be developed.

The committee discussed proposed minor amendments to the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No.2) 2018 (the Code). Members agreed that the amendments are important in providing clarification for both advertisers and consumers. Member feedback will be considered before amendments to the Code are made.

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia representative led a presentation on health literacy in Australia, based on recently published data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The committee discussed the self-perception of health literacy by Australians and the need for high quality consumer information, as well as how consumer vulnerability impacts the interpretation of health information (including advertising). The presentation highlighted areas where consumer education can be improved and discussion focused on the needs of particularly vulnerable consumers.

The TGA provided an overview of advertising complaints data for 1 January to 31 March 2019. The TGA noted that enhancements are underway to improve the categories available within the information to provide greater detail around the complaints that are received as well as more information on specific cases, such as examples where the Code was breached and collective action taken. Improved quality of data will enable more targeted education and compliance activities to take place.

The next meeting of the committee will be held in October 2019.