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SA individual fined $7,992 for alleged unlawful advertising of medicinal cannabis

22 December 2021

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has issued three infringement notices, totalling $7,992, to an individual from South Australia for allegedly advertising medicinal cannabis in breach of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act).

The individual allegedly advertised, on their website, the use and supply of various hemp oil medicines not entered in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). In Australia, advertising medicinal cannabis products to the public that are not entered in the ARTG is prohibited under the Act.

It is further alleged that the advertising contained prohibited and restricted representations, by claiming that the products could be used to treat a range of diseases and serious conditions, including cancer, autism, epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease, without the necessary authorisation.

Most medicinal cannabis products are unapproved therapeutic goods, which means they have not been assessed by the TGA for safety, quality or efficacy. Advertising medicinal cannabis to aid or treat serious medical conditions poses a significant public health risk, in particular for vulnerable consumers who may be misled into using these products to treat their medical condition/s without seeking professional medical treatment.

The TGA has tested one of the advertised products labelled Rick's Hemp Oil Full Spectrum Hemp Supplement 500 mg and found it contained undeclared banned substances. The TGA has issued a safety advisory.

The TGA website includes a printable infographic for consumers about safe and legal access to medicinal cannabis products, where clinically appropriate. Please speak with your doctor if you have any questions about medicinal cannabis for the possible treatment of your health condition.

The TGA encourages the reporting of suspected non-compliant advertising.

If you suspect non-compliance in relation to therapeutic goods, you can report illegal or questionable practices online to the TGA.