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MEPH Pharmacy Pty Ltd fined $39,960 for the alleged unlawful advertising of nicotine vaping products

3 March 2022

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has issued three infringement notices totalling $39,960 to Melbourne-based company MEPH Pharmacy Pty Ltd for alleged advertising breaches relating to nicotine vaping products.

It is alleged that MEPH Pharmacy Pty Ltd unlawfully advertised nicotine vaping products on their website and other social media accounts. Under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989, nicotine vaping products are prescription only medicines (in Schedule 4 of the Poisons Standard) and cannot be advertised to the Australian public.

Those engaging in a business which involves the import, manufacture, supply or advertising of therapeutic goods are expected to be aware of the regulatory requirements in Australia, including the types of conduct that are prohibited.

Pharmacies who supply nicotine vaping products to consumers with a prescription are able to lawfully advertise this service if they meet the conditions in the relevant regulatory permission. The alleged unlawful advertising in this case was not consistent with the permission.

The TGA considers advertising breaches relating to nicotine vaping products a serious matter and is taking prompt and appropriate action to ensure compliance with the law. The TGA's nicotine vaping products compliance and enforcement plan sets out an intelligence-informed, risk-based approach to addressing non-compliance.

Other nicotine vaping product related enforcement actions have included:

An infringement notice is an alternative to commencing court proceedings, see Information about infringement notices for more information.

Consumer information

The TGA has published comprehensive information about nicotine vaping products on its website, including for consumers, on how to legally access nicotine vaping products following consultation and a prescription from their doctor as a treatment to help stop smoking.

The TGA advises consumers that if they are considering buying nicotine vaping products online, it is important to be careful especially when the seller does not ask for a valid prescription before supplying products containing nicotine. Consumers are encouraged to ask the overseas supplier questions about the ingredients and manufacturing of the product.

The TGA has conducted laboratory testing on a number of vaping products and has found a large number to contain undeclared nicotine or prohibited substances that are harmful when inhaled.

The TGA encourages the reporting of suspected non-compliant advertising and to report illegal or questionable practices online to the TGA.