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Advertising Code Revamp Consultation from Therapeutic Goods Administration

Since the new edition of the code went into effect two years ago, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has sought input on how to strengthen the Australian Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code and has suggested options for fixing requirements that it has found as ambiguous or contradictory.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration mentions several problems with the current code that stakeholders have found, as well as suggestions on how to fix them, in the consultation document. Some stakeholders, for example, have complained to the  that the code does not sufficiently protect customers from ads that cause “fear and anxiety.” The 2015 edition of the code specifically prohibited advertisements that used language that could cause fear or anxiety, but the new version does not.

In response to stakeholder feedback, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has suggested strengthening the code to prohibit advertising that cause anxiety or discomfort, such as those that lead an individual to believe they are suffering from or may suffer from a serious illness. The agency wants to know whether stakeholders agree that advertisements that trigger fear and anxiety should be explicitly prohibited, and if so, if they agree with the new wording.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration also responds to stakeholder requests to simplify the conditions for required statements in ads elsewhere in the consultation document. Stakeholders want the Therapeutic Goods Administration to simplify the rules for a variety of reasons, including the lack of space in some ads for mandatory statements, especially on digital platforms. The agency needs to know if people are in favour of the move and when they think it’s necessary to use the shorter mandatory statement.

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