Like all medicines and medical devices, ‘natural’ products are intended to influence the human body or change something about the way the body acts. Inappropriate or excessive use of any medicine or medical device may cause harm.
In Australia, there are laws that protect Australian consumers from being misled by advertising claims.
Medicines and medical devices are sometimes promoted in advertising as ‘natural’ or as containing ‘natural’ ingredients. Words like ‘natural’, ‘all natural’, ‘100% natural’, or ‘naturally derived’ are used in advertising for a range of different types of medicines or medical devices, including sunscreens, skin creams, personal lubricants, vitamin and mineral supplements, probiotics and herbal medicines.
A ‘natural’ claim may influence the choice of medicine or medical device.
No medicine or medical device can be promoted as 100% safe, effective or a miracle cure, even a ‘natural’ medicine or medical device.
The law prohibits advertisers from making these types of claims and from misleading consumers about the performance of a medicine or medical device.
What does ‘natural’ mean?
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has provided guidance for advertisers about how they can use ‘natural’ claims appropriately when advertising medicines and medical devices.
The advertiser may choose to specify in the advertising how exactly the medicine or medical device, or its ingredients, can be considered ‘natural’. For example:
Otherwise, before using a ‘natural’ claim for a medicine or medical device, the advertiser should ensure that: