TGA Advertising Code Requirements Guidelines for Direct Sellers

Testimonials and Endorsements

 

Direct Selling: Complying with the therapeutic goods advertising requirements Summary of New Rules for Direct Sellers Regarding the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code.

The Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code 2021 (the Advertising Code) took effect on 1 January 2022.  Advertising requirements for therapeutic goods are in place to protect the health and safety of consumers. The definition of advertise is very broad and includes any information that promotes or may encourage a consumer to obtain or use a particular product. All advertising for therapeutic goods must comply with the therapeutic goods legislation which includes the Code.

Fact Sheets

 

What is a Therapeutic Good?

Therapeutic goods are broadly defined as products for use in humans in connection with:

  • Preventing, diagnosing, curing or alleviating a disease, ailment, defect or injury
  • Influencing inhibiting or modifying a physiological process
  • Testing the susceptibility of persons to a disease or ailment
  • Influencing, controlling or preventing conception
  • Testing for pregnancy

The TGA imposes strict regulations in relation to these products in order to protect the Australian consumer.

It is important to note the following requirements, when advertising therapeutic goods, including whether in person or via social media:

  • ISPs must only promote a therapeutic good using the listed claims in the ARTG entry
  • ISPs who are not health professionals (or former health professionals) can endorse therapeutic goods (see below for definition)
  • ISP’s can use testimonials from genuine customers, that are in line with the listed claims, when promoting therapeutic goods.
  • ISPs may refer to claims that are valid, accurate and substantiated by the company
  • ISPs may only use scientific language that is readily understood and, where it relates to a claim, that claim must reflect the body of relevant scientific evidence
  • ISPs must not promote therapeutic goods in a false or misleading way
  • ISPs must not make personal testimonials even if the goods are entered in the ARTG or if the testimonials relate to non-therapeutic aspects (e.g. this acne cream doesn’t dry out my skin)
  • ISPs who are health professionals or former health professionals must not make endorsements
  • ISPs must not claim therapeutic goods are safe, magical or miraculous

Advertising must not refer to serious diseases, conditions, ailments or defects (including cancer, depression, HIV, STDs, diabetes, asthma and heart disease) without prior approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

What is the Difference Between a Testimonial and an Endorsement?

In terms of direct selling, a testimonial is a statement (written or spoken) made by a direct seller who has used a particular therapeutic good. It may specifically state that the person has used the goods or simply imply that they have. Examples of testimonials include:

  • This product helps me stay healthy and fit
  • This product is great. A must-have when I go on my holidays for sun protection
  • I have used this product to help ease my kids’ colds
  • I use Brand X vitamins.

Endorsements are statements (written or spoken) and/or images you might make, that support or encourage the use of a therapeutic good. Endorsements may be explicit statements of support or may imply your support of a product through the use of imagery. To endorse a product, you do not need to have used the product.

Advertising Code Requirements

You should check with your direct selling organisation which of the products you sell regulated as therapeutic goods. These products are subject to the Advertising Code Requirements.
The information provided is a general overview of the new Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code. If you require further more specific advice about the impact on your business, you should seek independent professional advice.

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