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CW IP Pty Ltd fined $53,280 for alleged advertising breaches on the Chemist Warehouse and My Chemist websites

24 March 2021

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), part of the Department of Health, has issued four infringement notices totalling $53,280 to Melbourne-based online retailer CW IP Pty Ltd, trading as Chemist Warehouse and My Chemist (CW IP). The TGA issued the fines for alleged unlawful advertising of a complementary medicine.

In December 2020, CW IP allegedly advertised Fatblaster Clinical capsules, a therapeutic good, on four pages of its Chemist Warehouse and My Chemist websites. At the time of advertising, Fatblaster Clinical capsules were not entered in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). The TGA cancelled Fatblaster Clinical capsules from the ARTG on 20 December 2019.

Therapeutic goods cancelled from the ARTG cannot be advertised to Australian consumers. Advertisements promoting the use or supply of cancelled therapeutic goods (including complementary medicines such as vitamins and herbal products) breach the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act).

CW IP was one of fifteen online retailers issued with cease and desist notices regarding the alleged unlawful advertising of the product.

Important information for retailers that advertise therapeutic goods

Advertisers are responsible for ensuring their therapeutic goods advertising is compliant with the Act prior to release. Advertising of therapeutic goods by retailers (including online retailers) is subject to the same rules as the advertising conducted by the sponsors of the products in the ARTG.

Educational information and resources about Australia's advertising rules for therapeutic goods can be found on the TGA website. If you need regulatory assistance regarding your specific circumstances, we encourage you to seek independent legal advice or the assistance of a regulatory affairs consultant. The TGA does not endorse consultants, however we maintain a list of industry organisations that may be able to help you find one.

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 unlawful activity in relation to therapeutic goods.

The TGA reminds online advertisers that sanctions and penalties can apply if they advertise therapeutic goods (e.g. medicines and medical devices) in a way that does not comply with Australia's advertising laws. A range of compliance and enforcement tools means that the TGA can issue infringement notices and even take court action in relation to non-compliant advertising.

The TGA encourages people to report suspected non-compliant advertising, including the promotion of cancelled therapeutic goods, via its advertising reporting form.

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