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New Playbook on ‘Improving the prognosis on health advertising’

Just released is a new booklet on how to ensure that advertising for health professionals and therapeutic goods complies with the law.

Whether an advertisement appears in print or on a digital platform it must comply with the relevant legislation.

This easy to read guide sets out the parameters of the applicable regulations.

For health professionals breaches of the advertising requirements can result in financial penalties and the relevant National Board may also decide that this raises concern about the practitioner’s conduct.

Action under the National Law may include placing restrictions on an individual health
practitioner’s registration which could may affect their ability to practice the professions.

Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law a registered health practitioner, or a business providing a regulated health service, whose advertising breaches the legislation, may be prosecuted and ordered by a court to pay a $5,000 penalty per offence (for an individual) or a $10,000 penalty per offence (for a body corporate).

The Australian Consumer Law is the major consumer protection law in Australia. In relation to the ACL, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has stated that media companies ‘must take particular care in relation to the products and services they advertise for their clients. They should know their clients’ business and be aware of the requirements under the ACL to minimise the risk of breaching the law’.

The ACCC’s enforcement powers are extensive—for some contraventions it can seek remedies such as criminal or civil pecuniary penalties of up to $1.1 million for companies and $220,000 for individuals, infringement notice penalties of up to $108,000 for publicly listed companies, $10,800 for corporations and up to $2,160 for individuals, disqualification orders, injunctions to prevent ongoing conduct and corrective advertising orders.

Breaches of legislation for therapeutic goods are also high and can entail penalties of $57,500.

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