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Cat Media Pty Ltd fined $13,320 for alleged unlawful advertising of a FatBlaster complementary medicine

19 November 2020

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), part of the Department of Health, has issued an infringement notice for $13,320 to Sydney-based company Cat Media Pty Ltd (Cat Media), for the alleged unlawful advertising of a complementary medicine.

Cat Media allegedly advertised, on the company's 'FatBlaster' website, a therapeutic good called FatBlaster Apple Cider Vinegar and Garcinia Max. It is alleged that the product was not included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) and was neither exempt nor excluded from the operation of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act). 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.

Complementary medicines include vitamin, mineral, herbal, aromatherapy and homoeopathic products. Most complementary medicines must be included in the ARTG and meet certain criteria to ensure they are of acceptable safety before they can be sold in Australia. Once on the market, they are subject to ongoing monitoring by the TGA and may be evaluated at any time to confirm they meet requirements for quality, safety and efficacy.

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.