The TGA policy to publish its investigations into alleged
breaches of its advertising code is designed to provide advertisers
guidance on how the TGA interprets advertising requirements. So far
two complaints for breaching the advertising code have been
published: a complaint into Invisible Zinc's claim other
sunscreens were harmful and Hedrin Lotion's claim that it did
not contain pesticides. However, following a
Parliamentary review the TGA is considering revamping these
transparency measures to deter sponsors from breaching advertising
requirements set out in the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code
The advertising of therapeutic goods to consumers is regulated
by, among other things, the Advertising Code. Compliance with the
Advertising Code is monitored by the TGA Complaints Resolution
Panel (Panel), whose purpose it is to investigate complaints
regarding advertisement breaches of the Code. If the Panel
determines the complaint is justified, they may request that the
sponsor do certain things such as withdraw the advertisement or
publish a corrective statement.
If sponsors fail to adhere to the Panel's requests, the
complaint may be referred to the TGA. From there the TGA may
initiate its own investigation and take certain action, including
publishing the complaint. Prior to the Parliamentary review to
improve the transparency of the TGA, the TGA was reluctant to
Following the parliamentary Review, this position has
subsequently changed and the TGA has already published the
complaints concerning Invisible Zinc and Hedrin Lotion. The fact
that the TGA has published these two complaints indicates it has
become increasingly willing to 'name and shame' sponsors in
order prevent breaches of the Advertising Code.
As a result of the review, the TGA has decided to revise its
current advertising transparency measures. The TGA's current
advertising measures are designed to protect public health by
promoting the safe use of therapeutic goods and ensuring that they
are honestly promoted as to their benefits, uses and effects.
Little detail has been given regarding the proposed review or
changes by the TGA and when they may come into effect. Despite the
vagaries of how the TGA may amend its advertising transparency
measures, sponsors should be hesitant not to comply with any
request from the Panel. Failure to comply may see further action
taken by the TGA, including publication of the investigation.
This publication is intended as a general overview and
discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be,
and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any
specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no
responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of
DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm,
operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For
further information, please refer to www.dlapiper.com
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