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TGA continues action against Peptide Clinics Australia for alleged advertising breaches

17 May 2019

The Federal Court has granted leave to the Secretary of the Department of Health to continue court proceedings against Peptide Clinics Australia following the company's liquidation in March this year.

The Secretary commenced proceedings against Peptide Clinics Australia (Peptide Clinics Pty Ltd) in November last year for alleged breaches of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act) and the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code 2015.

The alleged breaches relate to inappropriate online advertisements for 'peptides' and other prescription-only products. In Australia, advertisements for medicines and other types of therapeutic goods must not be misleading and they must not advertise prescription-only medicines to the public.

Using peptides and other prescription-only therapeutic goods sold by Peptide Clinics Australia could result in serious harm to consumers' health and safety, particularly as it is alleged that the products are not used with adequate or appropriate medical supervision.

Peptide Clinics Australia advised the Court in December last year that it would remove relevant advertisements from its website pending final hearing of the matter. Although the company made some changes to its website, the Secretary was of the view that it continued to advertise peptides in breach of the Act. In light of this assessment, the Secretary submitted an amended application to the Court in March this year. Shortly after doing so, Peptide Clinics Australia went into liquidation.

Further information about the alleged breaches is available in the following documents:

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The Federal Court hearing is scheduled for 24 June 2019.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is reminding businesses with similar operating models to Peptide Clinics Australia that prescription-only medicines cannot be advertised to the public. Online interfaces that allow consumers to review and self-select their desired prescription-only medicines for subsequent prescribing and supply will generally be considered advertising for those medicines. Businesses should also be aware that promoting general classes of prescription-only medicines (like peptides) is also likely to be considered advertising.

Complaints about the advertising of unapproved prescription-only medicines to the public are a high priority for the TGA and can result in serious consequences for advertisers found to be in breach of the Act, including being issued infringement notices, being charged with criminal offences or having court proceedings commenced against them.