You are here

Consumer guide to therapeutic goods advertising requirements

1 July 2018

Advertising to the public for therapeutic goods must comply with a range of legislation. The following information sets out some of the key requirements for advertising therapeutic goods to the public in Australia.

These requirements generally apply to claims that are overtly stated (explicit) or implied in the advertising. Exceptions may apply to some of these provisions that have not been included in this summary.

Therapeutic goods that cannot be advertised

The following types of therapeutic goods cannot be advertised to the public:

General requirements

Advertising must:

  • only contain claims that the advertiser or sponsor has already established are supported by appropriate evidence
  • be balanced

What advertising must not do

Advertising for therapeutic goods must not:

  • mislead, including about the type of evidence used to support the advertising claims
  • overstate the effectiveness or performance of the goods (e.g. by making claims of therapeutic effect that are stronger than effects demonstrated in the supporting evidence)
  • use scientific or medical terminology that is not readily understandable by consumers
  • claim the advertised good is safe or harmless, infallible, miraculous or a 'sure cure'
  • claim other therapeutic goods are harmful or ineffective
  • encourage excessive or inappropriate use
  • take advantage of the lack of knowledge of consumers
  • be likely to lead to consumers self-diagnosing or inappropriately treating potentially serious diseases
  • contain endorsements by TGA, other government bodies or health professionals
  • refer to the treatment, cure or prevention of cancer, mental illness, hepatitis C, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), unless the representations:
    • relate to the prevention of skin cancer through use of sunscreen,
    • relate to the prevention of transmission of HIV/AIDS and STIs through the use of certain devices (like condoms), or
    • have been specifically permitted by TGA

Approvals are needed for some advertising

Some advertising needs prior authorisation:

  • advertising that refers to serious diseases, conditions, ailments or defects (other than those listed above) require prior permission or approval from the TGA (these are restricted representations)
  • advertising for medicines to appear in newspapers or magazines, on billboards or cinema screens, or on certain television and radio stations also require prior approval

What to do if you think an advertisement does not comply

If you think an advertisement for therapeutic goods does not comply with the requirements, you can report it to TGA.

Further information

The therapeutic goods advertising requirements are specified in:

For more information on complaints, see:

Also see 10 things to look out for in medicine advertising.