When clinics advertise their health services, they often talk about therapeutic goods. For example, they might mention Botox when advertising cosmetic procedures. But there are some rules they need to follow to comply with the law.
To make sure your health service advertisement doesn’t get mistaken for promoting therapeutic goods, avoid mentioning any specific therapeutic goods used in the service. If your service inherently involves therapeutic goods, you still need to follow the rules for advertising them and any requirements for advertising services.
Let’s take a look at some specific cases:
- Cosmetic Injection Services:
You can’t advertise cosmetic injectables that contain prescription-only substances to the public. Don’t mention these substances or their product names, acronyms, nicknames, or hashtags. But don’t worry. There are acceptable general terms you can use, like “Anti-wrinkle injections,” “Dermal fillers,” and “Improvement of submental fat appearance.” Just avoid any references to prescription-only substances.
- Medicinal Cannabis Prescribers:
In Australia, only medical practitioners can prescribe medicinal cannabis. So, you can’t advertise prescription-only or unapproved medicines to the public. When promoting your health service, focus on your services and don’t refer to medicinal cannabis products, including their names, abbreviations, or colloquial terms. Stick to factual and balanced information that doesn’t encourage the use or supply of medicinal cannabis.
The allowed publication should include the following elements: The healthcare service website provides comprehensive information about medicinal cannabis. It covers various aspects related to this topic, starting with an explanation of the endocannabinoid system and how cannabinoids may interact with the human body. While discussing research findings, the website acknowledges the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis but emphasizes the need for further research to fully understand its therapeutic purposes.
In a balanced approach, the website delves into the contra-indications and potential side effects of medicinal cannabis, ensuring readers are aware of both its benefits and risks. Additionally, it sheds light on the regulatory aspect of medicinal cannabis, providing insights into how it is governed. To facilitate access to accurate information, the website includes a link to the TGA website, which outlines the processes for accessing medicinal cannabis in Australia.
- Compounding Pharmacies:
Compounded medicines are prepared for patients with unique needs. When advertising compounded medicines, don’t refer to any prescription-only substances, even if they’re just one component of many ingredients. Instead, focus on your services and avoid mentioning serious diseases or conditions without proper authorization.
- Vaccine Providers:
Vaccines are prescription-only medicines and can’t be advertised using brand names or ingredients. Don’t mention vaccine brands, names, or ingredients when advertising your vaccine services. Also, avoid making references that could discourage people from getting vaccinated or go against public health policies. Stick to promoting your services without mentioning prescription-only substances.
- Services Involving Biologicals (HCT Products):
Human Cell and Tissue products (HCT) are regulated as biologicals and can’t be advertised to the public. So, when advertising your services involving HCT products, avoid mentioning them by name, brand, abbreviations, or colloquial terms like “stem cells.” Focus on your services instead.
Disease Education Activities:
Information about diseases can be helpful to consumers, but be careful not to turn it into an advertisement for therapeutic goods. If the information encourages consumers to seek a particular product or medicine, it might be considered an advertisement. Stick to providing factual information without promoting the use or supply of therapeutic goods.
Remember, following these rules will ensure your health service advertisements are compliant with the law and help you provide valuable information to the public without crossing any boundaries.
TGA guidelines are not the only advertising guidelines that apply to health services. The AHPRA, for example, has its own guidelines. I write about that soon.
Nothing in this publication constitutes legal advice. Please, consult your legal professional.