Taking advantage of the situation

Warning issued over products claiming to prevent or treat coronavirus 

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has issued a warning to consumers about products that are on sale with claims they may prevent or treat coronavirus. 

In an alert issued on Friday, 7 February, the TGA said it had “identified certain therapeutic goods such as complementary medicines or disinfectants being inappropriately promoted for the prevention or treatment of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infections in Australia”.

The alert said the TGA had received reports of topical antiseptics and other products being promoted for inappropriate uses (such as inhalation) in order to prevent novel coronavirus infections.

“Medicines and supplements promoted as protecting against novel coronavirus are unlikely to be effective in preventing an infection,” it said.

“The TGA is also not aware of any medicines or supplements available without prescription that will prevent or assist with recovery from a novel coronavirus infection”.

No specific products were named in the alert, but the TGA did provide a message for both consumers and advertisers. 

“Consumers are advised to exercise caution when considering advertising claims related to novel coronavirus, and should immediately consult a health professional if they have health concerns,” it said.

“The promotion of therapeutic goods to consumers for the prevention or treatment of novel coronavirus is likely to contravene the legislative requirements for a range of reasons, including unsupported claims or making a restricted representation”.

“We remind advertisers to be very careful when considering making therapeutic claims related to novel coronavirus”.

“If you are intending to promote a disinfectant with explicit claims about killing novel coronavirus, to satisfy the Code requirements, you must have studies conducted with novel coronavirus to demonstrate this (compliance with the Therapeutic Goods Orders relating to disinfectants is not sufficient). In addition, prior restricted representation approval by TGA is needed”.

The agency advised consumers that “using hand rubs, wipes and disinfectants, in accordance with the directions on the label, can be part of good hygiene practice. Good hygiene is the primary defence against the spread of infections, including novel coronavirus.” 

For more on pharmacy’s responsibility around public education on the coronavirus situation, click here





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