Pharmacy fined over complementary medicine ad

The TGA has fined a NSW pharmacy $13,320 for alleged advertising of an unlisted complementary medicine

Newcastle-based retailers Junction Rx Pty Limited, trading as My Community Pharmacy, allegedly advertised a therapeutic good called “FatBlaster Apple Cider Vinegar and Garcinia Max,” the Therapeutic Goods Administration said in a statement this week.

This product is not listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, however.

The TGA noted that under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act), therapeutic goods (including complementary medicines such as vitamins and herbal products) must be entered in the ARTG before they can be lawfully supplied or advertised in Australia unless a valid exemption or exclusion applies.

Junction Rx was one of 15 online retailers issued with cease-and-desist notices regarding alleged unlawful advertising of this product.

The other 14 online retailers came into compliance by the deadline the TGA had said – but Junction Rx failed to do so.

As a result, the TGA has issued an infringement notice for $13,320 to the retailer.

It noted that its investigation into online advertisers of the product followed similar action it had taken in relation to the Australian sponsor of the product, Cat Media Pty Ltd.

On 18 November 2020, the TGA had issued Cat Media with an infringement notice in relation to the advertising of this product. Cat Media has since paid this fine.

“It is each person’s responsibility to ensure their advertising content is compliant with the Act prior to publication,” the TGA reminded stakeholders.

“The TGA regulates online advertisers in the same way as the sponsors of the product on the ARTG.

“The TGA reminds online advertisers that sanctions and penalties can apply if you advertise therapeutic goods (e.g. medicines and medical devices) in a way that does not comply with Australia’s advertising laws.

“This means that the TGA can issue infringement notices and even take court action in relation to non-compliant advertising.”

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1 Comment

  1. Ken Harvey

    Once again, the TGA have only taken token action. I have documented nine complementary medicine weight loss products whose ARTG numbers have been cancelled, either by the TGA or the sponsor, but continue to be advertised (now illegally). See:

    Obesity is a major Australian public health problem; complementary medicine weight loss products don’t work but their claims are likely to dissuade consumers from adopting more evidence-based interventions.

    Despite concerns being raised more than 10 years ago the TGA has failed to take effective action on these products. They have also failed to act on other public health problems, such as hangover products. See:

    The TGA’s inaction leaves it open to claims it prioritises industry profitability over consumer protection.

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