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Company issued $12,600 infringement notice for alleged COVID-19 advertising breach

22 May 2020

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has issued an infringement notice to Melbourne based company NutriPATH Pty Ltd for the alleged unlawful advertising of a COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test collection kit in breach of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act). The value of the infringement notice is $12,600.

The advertisement that appeared on the company's website in April 2020 included a reference to COVID-19, which is a restricted representation under the Act. A restricted representation refers to a serious disease, condition or disorder. The use of restricted representations in advertisements for therapeutic products is unlawful without the express permission of the TGA.

Advertisements of this nature are of significant concern given the current pandemic. The TGA has published a warning to advertisers and consumers about illegal advertising relating to COVID-19.

The TGA takes action against advertising breaches

The regulatory scheme is important to the safety of Australian consumers and the TGA investigates suspected illegal activity in relation to therapeutic goods.

The TGA regulates all medicines, medical devices and biologicals used in Australia and implements a range of compliance and enforcement tools. Where necessary this may include criminal or civil court proceedings, which can result in substantial penalties, fines or imprisonment.

Any person, including businesses, must comply with the TGA requirements for advertising. The TGA encourages online advertising complaints to prevent potentially serious consequences.