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Why and how advertising of therapeutic goods is regulated

15 July 2020

Therapeutic goods are, by their very nature, intended to have a therapeutic effect and influence the health status of the people that use, or are considering using, them. Many of these people will be vulnerable because of the disease or condition that they are facing or because of a general concern about their health, which may impact on their ability to critically evaluate advertising (including labels) to assess whether a particular good is appropriate for them.

As such, therapeutic goods are subject to special advertising requirements beyond those required for everyday consumer goods (e.g. refrigerators, televisions) in order to protect consumers.

There are multiple benefits to regulating the advertising of therapeutic goods:

  • Level playing field for businesses
  • Reinforces the quality use of therapeutic goods
  • Promotes responsible advertising
  • Enhances health outcomes for all Australians
  • Supports consumer confidence and trust

How therapeutic goods advertising is controlled

TGA regulation

The TGA administers the Commonwealth therapeutic goods legislation to regulate the advertising of therapeutic goods in Australia. In doing so, the TGA is responsible for ensuring advertising compliance across all therapeutic goods sectors. However, the majority of the therapeutic goods advertising legislative requirements relate to advertising to the public and there are only a select few requirements that apply to advertising to health professionals.

Self regulation

There are a range of industry organisations that represent various therapeutic goods sectors. These organisations generally have a code of practice or conduct that contains advertising requirements and may also contain complaint handling arrangements. As a condition of membership, members of the respective organisations are bound by their organisation's code and may be penalised for non-compliant advertising.

Industry associations are generally responsible for advertising directed to health professionals.

Further information

For information on where to find the regulatory requirements, see Therapeutic goods legislation and advertising.