Prescription medicines (Schedules 4 and 8) cannot be advertised to the public under the Act. The same prohibition applies to Pharmacist Only Medicines (Schedule 3) that are not listed in Appendix H of the Poisons Standard. However, price lists for such medicines can be issued to the public. To ensure that dissemination of price information does not promote the use of particular prescription medicines, it is essential that price lists comply with Schedule 4 of the Code. See page 32 of the Advertising Code
Pharmacist-only (Schedule 3) medicines – required statement
An advertisement for a medicine consisting of, or containing, a substance included in Schedule 3 of the current Poisons Standard and Appendix H of that Standard, must contain the following statement, prominently displayed or communicated:
ASK YOUR PHARMACIST—THEY MUST DECIDE IF THIS PRODUCT IS RIGHT FOR YOU.
If an advertisement for a complementary medicine includes a claim or group of claims based on evidence of a history of traditional use, the reliance on this traditional use and paradigm must be disclosed in the advertisement and the disclosure must be prominently displayed or communicated in the advertisement
An advertisement for an analgesic must contain the following warning statement, prominently displayed or communicated:
INCORRECT USE COULD BE HARMFUL
An advertisement for an analgesic must not imply that analgesic consumption is safe or that analgesics will relax, relieve tension, sedate or stimulate.
Vitamins and minerals
An advertisement for vitamin or mineral supplements must not claim or imply that the supplements are a substitute for good nutrition or a balanced diet or that they are in any way superior to or more beneficial than dietary nutrients.
Therapeutic goods that are for weight management
An advertisement for therapeutic goods containing any claim relating to weight management must balance the claims with the need for a healthy energy, controlled diet and physical activity.
Advertising of therapeutic goods containing any claim relating to weight management must not include any reference or depiction suggesting that the therapeutic goods will correct or reverse the effects of overeating or over-consumption of any food or drink.
An advertisement for therapeutic goods containing any claim relating to weight management must not feature individuals in images or visual representations or use individuals’ statistics or testimonials unless the results achieved by those individuals from the use of the goods would be expected to be achieved on average by users of the goods.
“Weight management” includes: weight loss, weight control, weight maintenance, measurement reduction, clothing size reduction, hunger suppression.
Advertisements for goods that claim that they will prevent sunburn or skin cancer are covered by this section. Advertising of sunscreens must depict sunscreens as being only one part of sun protection; and include statements or visual representations, prominently displayed or communicated, to the effect that prolonged high-risk sun exposure should be avoided; and frequent re-application or use in accordance with directions is required for effective sun protection.
Endorsements can be made by a person or a corporation expressing their support for a product. However, advertisements for therapeutic goods must not contain an endorsement from, or imply that the therapeutic goods are endorsed by a government authority, hospital or healthcare facility; or an employee or contractor of a government authority, hospital or healthcare facility; or a health practitioner, health professional, medical researcher or a group of such persons. A “health care facility” does not include a community pharmacy.
Such endorsements are prohibited so as to avoid a consumer being unduly influenced to purchase a therapeutic good by the weight they may give to statements made by these organisations and individuals.
Professional endorsement vs availability
References to business names (for example the name of a chain of a pharmacy) are commonly used in the naming of therapeutic goods to signify availability. (e.g. available from XX Pharmacy). However, this is not necessarily considered health professional endorsement of the goods.
For example a catalogue from a pharmacy that bears the name of the pharmacist owner would not be a professional health endorsement if it contains an article written by the pharmacist, with their picture and signature, about hayfever season that highlights selected products for hayfever relief would be considered an endorsement by a health professional.
However, a catalogue from a pharmacy that bears the name of the pharmacist owner would be a professional health endorsement if it contains pages of therapeutic goods images, with visible claims and prices, for hay fever relief. While these pages would be considered advertising, they convey availability of the goods through the pharmacy rather than the pharmacist’s endorsement.
A testimonial is a statement about a good made by a person that claims to have used it. A testimonial in an advertisement must be made by a person whose details are verified prior to the advertising occurring and has used the goods for their intended purpose. The person cannot be involved with the production, sale, supply or marketing of the goods; or an employee or officer of a corporation that is involved with the production, sale, supply or marketing of the goods.
In addition the testimonial must disclose if the person providing the testimonial has received any valuable consideration for the testimonial and where another person is taking the place in the advertisement of the person providing the testimonial. If the person providing the testimonial is an immediate family member of an individual who is involved with the production, sale, supply or marketing of the goods this must be disclosed.
An advertisement for therapeutic goods must not contain an offer of a sample, with the exception of condoms, sunscreens, stoma devices for self-management and continence catheter devices for self-management.
Advertisements for goods not available for examination before purchase.
Advertisements for these therapeutic goods must contain:
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL or
ALWAYS READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE or
THIS MEDICINE MAY NOT BE RIGHT FOR YOU. READ THE WARNINGS BEFORE PURCHASE