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Woman fined $2,520 for alleged breaches in relation to COVID-19 test kits

24 April 2020

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has issued an infringement notice for $2,520 to a woman in Western Australia for alleged breaches of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act).

The woman allegedly breached a condition of the Therapeutic Goods (Medical Devices—Accredited Pathology Laboratories) (COVID-19 Emergency) Exemption 2020 (the Exemption) by importing COVID-19 test kits that were not included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), and were not being imported in relation to an accredited pathology laboratory as required by the Exemption. These products are classified as Class 3 in vitro diagnostic (IVD) medical devices. Such products must not be imported into Australia unless they are included in the ARTG, or meet the conditions of the Exemption. The Australian Border Force detected the importation by the woman at the border.

Where medical devices are covered by the Exemption, the conditions of the Exemption must be complied with. A failure to do so is a criminal offence under section 41MNB of the Act, and exposes a company or any relevant individual to a civil penalty under section 41MNC of the Act. For further information, see the TGA's advice on the legal supply of COVID-19 test kits.

The TGA takes action against unlawful activity

The TGA regulates all medicines, medical devices and biologicals under the Act. These contraventions are a serious concern for the TGA due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Any alleged breaches relating to products supplied as part of Australia's response to the pandemic will be given the highest priority by the TGA.

The regulatory scheme is important to the safety of Australians and the TGA investigates allegations of unlawful activity in relation to therapeutic goods. A range of compliance and enforcement actions detect, deter and address unlawful trade in unapproved therapeutic goods. Where appropriate this can involve criminal or civil court proceedings, which may result in substantial penalties, fines or imprisonment.