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Submissions received and TGA response: Complaints Handling - Advertising therapeutic goods to the public

12 October 2018

Between 2 May and 4 June 2018, the TGA sought comments from interested parties on the proposed advertising complaints handling model.

Thirty-four submissions were received from industry and consumer peak bodies, sponsors, government agencies, academic institutions, healthcare and other professional bodies.

We thank those individuals and organisations that lodged submissions for their valuable contribution. Your feedback has helped inform the development and implementation of the new advertising complaints model.

All submissions that gave permission to be published on the TGA website are available below in PDF format. The TGA response is also below.

Submissions

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TGA response

The submissions received in response to the consultation showed broad stakeholder support for the proposed complaints handling model including an educative approach with graduated regulatory actions to address ongoing or serious non-compliance with the advertising framework.

While some submissions expressed differing views, our position is

  • to accept anonymous complaints as part of the model in accordance with the Better Practice Guide to Complaints handling as published by the Commonwealth Ombudsman
  • the time frame requiring a response to a medium priority warning letter is appropriate and commensurate with the public’s expectation of resolving the advertising complaint
  • complaint outcomes will be published for matters which have been finalised and closed, until that time the complaints won’t appear on the website. For low priority complaints, the identity of those persons (advertisers) who have been sent an Obligations Notice will not be disclosed, however the unique identification number, date received, date completed and action taken will be published.

Details relating to the responsible advertiser and the product will be published for those complaints which are categorised as medium, high and critical as in these cases an investigation has been carried out, a finding established and the advertiser provided the opportunity to respond.

Stakeholder feedback has resulted in changes made to the administrative process to ensure complainants are advised of the priority level of their complaint.

The implementation of the new advertising complaints handling process will take into account stakeholder suggestions with regards to reporting trends, monitoring and follow up on compliance action as the scheme matures. We will also continue our efforts to strengthen education about the advertising compliance framework.