Advertising of Therapeutic Goods in Australia


A comprehensive system of controls operates federally across Australia to regulate the advertising of therapeutic goods. This system comprises three integrated levels of regulation - government regulation, co-regulation and self regulation. These complex controls are in place because therapeutic goods are not ordinary items of commerce and it is particularly important that any marketing of them is socially responsible, encourages only appropriate use of products and does not mislead or deceive.

The key components of the advertising controls are:

  • advertising codes
  • advertising approval requirements
  • complaint mechanisms
  • self-monitoring activities 

Therapeutic goods include medical devices and all medicines, be they over-the-counter medicines, traditional medicines or complementary health supplements. Only medicines that are unscheduled, schedule 2, or schedule 3 and in Appendix H of the Poisons Standard, may be advertised to consumers. It is illegal to refer to prescription products/substances in advertisements for therapeutic goods directed to consumers.