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Therapeutic Goods Advertising Consultative Committee, 21 March 2019

Communique

10 April 2019

The second meeting of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Consultative Committee (TGACC) was held at the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Symonston office on 21 March 2019. TGACC members represent a diverse range of stakeholders with an interest in advertising of therapeutic goods, including consumer bodies, industry and health practitioners.

Members shared feedback on their experiences with the commencement of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No. 2) 2018 (the Code). Discussion included application of the Code in digital marketing; the interface between cosmetic and therapeutic products (including products containing sunscreens); delays in advertising pre-approval processes; and the transparency of information about complaint outcomes.

The TGA provided an overview of the regulation of permitted indications for listed medicines and how this intersects with advertising requirements. The presentation covered what permitted indications are, why the permitted indication list was implemented and how these indications can be qualified and used on labels and in advertising.

The TGACC considered the key themes arising from the TGA's targeted consultation on the use of the term 'natural' in the advertising of therapeutic goods and a draft policy proposing definitions for 'natural' and 'naturally derived'. Members agreed that guidance is necessary in providing clarity on the use of these terms and assisting consumers to make informed decisions. The policy will be reviewed and finalised based on feedback and submissions provided.

The TGA provided an overview of advertising complaints data for 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2018. The presentation covered recent enhancements to the Advertising Complaints Outcome webpage to provide improved search functionality and additional information. Members discussed and agreed to a 'stop clock' being applied in the management of cases (for the measurement of key performance indicators) according to a series of business rules discussed, including, for example, seeking expert external advice or for the progress of court action. Members discussed the categorisation of complaints in the analysis presented and requested some changes to categories for further clarification.

The TGACC discussed challenges faced by members working in an increasingly digital environment. Of particular concern are issues associated with internet advertising and the fast pace of social media. Members agreed that online testimonials and paid social media influencers are key issues for their stakeholders and that additional educational resources addressing the application of the Code in these areas would be useful. The TGA will develop fact sheets to address these issues.

The TGACC discussed the educational materials available through the TGA advertising webhub and the effectiveness of training activities provided to date. Members acknowledged the efforts of the TGA in supporting advertisers in applying the Code. The TGA provided an overview of the educational tools available to members and encouraged members to inform us of specific training needs so that we can best respond. A list of priority education areas was shared based on feedback from training sessions and industry correspondence.

The next meeting will be held in the second quarter of 2019.