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ANPROS Pty Ltd fined $39,960 for alleged unlawful advertising of hydrogen peroxide

19 November 2020

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), part of the Department of Health, has issued three infringement notices totalling $39,960 to Melbourne-based company Analytical Products & Services Pty Ltd (ANPROS), for alleged unlawful advertising of hydrogen peroxide.

ANPROS allegedly advertised, on the company's website, a medicine containing hydrogen peroxide for internal therapeutic use that at the time of advertising was not included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). Unless a specific exemption, approval or authority applies, therapeutic goods must be entered in the ARTG before they can be lawfully advertised to the general public in Australia.

The TGA also alleges that ANPROS referred to a prohibited representation that suggested hydrogen peroxide could be administered by mouth or injected as a treatment for cancer. The Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code specifies that representations relating to the treatment, cure, prevention or diagnosis (including screening) of neoplastic diseases, including all types of cancer, are prohibited representations.

ANPROS allegedly also implied, on the company's website, that hydrogen peroxide is a treatment for emphysema. Any claims or references to treating a serious form of a disease, condition, ailment or defect are restricted representations.

Under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act), the use of prohibited or restricted representations in advertisements for therapeutic goods is unlawful without prior authorisation from the TGA.

Hydrogen peroxide is a substance used to bleach human hair and sometimes for topical first aid or dental purposes. The TGA is not aware of any accepted clinical or scientific evidence to substantiate therapeutic claims in relation to the ingestion of hydrogen peroxide. The TGA is particularly concerned about the potential for serious harm from internal administration.

The TGA's highest priority is to protect the health and safety of the Australian public through the regulation of therapeutic goods.

The TGA takes action against breaches of the Act

The regulatory scheme is critical to the safety of Australian consumers and the TGA investigates suspected illegal activity in relation to therapeutic goods. A range of compliance and enforcement tools are available and may include criminal or civil court proceedings, which can result in substantial penalties, fines or imprisonment.

Any person, including businesses, advertising therapeutic goods to consumers must comply with the requirements for advertising. The TGA encourages people to report suspected non-compliant advertising via its advertising reporting form.

The TGA website includes tips for consumers about how to spot a dodgy health product ad.