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Complying with the Advertising Code: Tips to help advertisers

16 July 2020

Advertisers must make sure their advertising complies with the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No.2) 2018 (the Code).

The tips below are intended to help you assess existing advertising for compliance with the Code. These tips do not cover everything—refer to the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 and the Code for the full legislative requirements.

Do your
advertisements
for medicines
and medical
devices comply
with the Code?

Mandatory statements

Check that your advertising includes mandatory statements that can be easily read or clearly heard

Mandatory statements are set out in sections 11, 12 and 13 of the Code:

  • If an advertisement is for pharmacist only medicines that can be advertised to the public, it must include the mandatory statement set out in section 11 of the Code.
  • If an advertisement directly leads a consumer to purchase goods without seeing or physically examining the goods before purchase (e.g. over the internet or via mail order catalogues), it must include the appropriate mandatory statements set out in section 12 of the Code.
  • All other ads must contain the mandatory statements in section 13.

Complementary medicines and traditional use claims

Where advertising claims for a complementary medicine are based on traditional use, ensure the advertising prominently displays or communicates the tradition of use and paradigm for the claims (section 23 of the Code), otherwise it will be misleading.

Additional links

Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code

Restricted representations and applications for approval

Sanctions and penalties

Reforms to the therapeutic goods advertising framework

To receive updates on the Code, including notifications of new guidance materials, please subscribe to TGA website updates.

Analgesics, vitamins, weight management products and sunscreens

Check advertising for analgesics, vitamins, weight management products and sunscreens carefully to ensure full compliance with the express provisions for these products in the Code (sections 24, 25, 26 and 27 of the Code).

Serious diseases, conditions, ailments or defects

If your advertising refers to serious diseases, conditions, ailments or defects, check if you need restricted representation approval or if they are prohibited representations (sections 28–30 of the Code).

Safe and proper use

Ensure your advertising supports the safe and proper use of medicines or medical devices.

In particular:

  • advertising for goods must be consistent with the directions/instructions for use (section 10(a) of the Code)
  • advertising must not be likely to lead people to delay necessary medical attention or to delay or cease using a prescribed treatment (section 10(b) of the Code)
  • advertising must not be inconsistent with public health campaigns (section 21 of the Code).

Scientific or clinical representations

Check your advertising complies with the requirements for scientific and clinical representations (section 15 of the Code). In particular:

  • scientific information must be consistent with the body of scientific evidence applicable to the goods
  • you must provide enough information about a citation to enable consumers to access it.

Endorsements and testimonials

Check endorsements and testimonials in your advertising to ensure they comply with the clarified requirements (sections 16 and 17 of the Code). In particular:

  • endorsement by an employee or contractor of a government authority, hospital or healthcare facility is prohibited
  • there are additional disclosure requirements for testimonials.

Samples

Advertising that contains an offer of a sample, other than for sunscreens or condoms and any other products specified in Code schedule 3, does not comply with the Code (section 20).

Further information

For more information please visit the advertising hub