The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration TGA has issued advertising guidelines relating to the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations. The TGA guidelines warn businesses (including health providers such as pharmacies, health clinics and hospitals) that they must adhere to strict guidelines about advertising or face possible fines or court action. (https://www.tga.gov.au/advertising-covid-19-vaccines-australian-public )
The TGA guidelines are consistent with a general prohibition in Australia against advertising of prescription medicines (including vaccines). As part of the TGA guidelines, relevant health providers must not:
- create their own advertising and must instead use approved posters and social media materials provided by the government;
- include details that help patients to identify which brand of vaccine is being administered (e.g AstraZeneca or Pfizer);
- make comparisons between vaccines (even if these are supported by evidence);
- provide incentives to encourage consumers to obtain the vaccine
- must not advertise in a way which implies or suggests that one brand of vaccine offered is superior to other vaccines;
A beneficial by-product of the TGA Guidelines is that any promotion of counterfeit or alleged "vaccines" or misuse of known pharmaceutical brands should also be caught, to reduce the risk of such conduct occurring in Australia. The TGA indicates that a simple self-promotion statement such as the following would contravene the Guidelines:
"A COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect you and your family from falling seriously ill! You can now get your COVID-19 vaccination at the Downtown Medical Centre. Available Monday to Friday from 9am – 9pm.
Just walk-in and enjoy a free cappuccino while you wait."
In view of these TGA advertising guidelines pharmaceutical companies and other health providers connected to the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in Australia will need to adopt a cautious approach to marketing of their involvement in the vaccination program. If you require advice on COVID-19 vaccination-related marketing literature, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.