You are here

Impersonation of Commonwealth public officials

13 November 2019

The Therapeutic Goods Administration is aware that a member of the public has purported to be a Commonwealth public official during a recent incident in Melbourne, where the individual asked a medical clinic to remove vaccination posters.

Impersonating Commonwealth public officials is a criminal offence (Criminal Code Act 1995, Division 148). We advise individuals who may be encouraged to impersonate an officer of the TGA that this is a serious criminal offence that may lead to prosecution.

The TGA has strict processes in place for regulatory site visits. An authorised officer from the TGA will introduce themselves and will carry photographic identification as an authorised officer.

While the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act) broadly prohibits advertising of prescription medicines (including vaccines), this is not the case where authorised or required by a government authority.

Posters relating to vaccines and vaccination sanctioned by the Australian Government Department of Health under the National Immunisation Program are permitted.

As part of an important public health campaign, this material is appropriate and legal, and provides important health information to consumers. If clinics and health professionals produce their own public information materials, we advise focusing on services, rather than specific products to avoid a breach of the advertising requirements.

The TGA encourages members of the community to report non-compliant advertising of therapeutic products that raise concerns, in order for the TGA to investigate through proper formal channels.