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How to Make a Complaint

Who to contact to complain about an advertisement for a therapeutic product

The therapeutic goods industry associations each have a self-regulatory Code of Conduct or Code of Practice which sets the standards for companies when promoting a medicine or medical device. The Codes of Conduct/Practice include mechanisms for dealing with complaints about advertising. In addition there is a complaints process that deals with complaints about certain types of advertising about ALL types of therapeutic goods where the advertising appears in the mainstream media (such as TV and radio).

The therapeutic goods industry is broadly organised around the types of products its member companies supply:

  • Prescribed medicines (medicines that you can only get with a prescription). This sector includes both companies that are researching new medicines (innovator companies) and companies that are supplying generic medicines once all valid patents have expired
  • Non-prescription consumer healthcare products (including medicines you can get from a pharmacy without a script and those you can buy in a supermarket)
  • Complementary medicines and natural healthcare products (including vitamins, mineral and nutritional supplements, special purpose foods, herbal and homoeopathic medicines, aromatherapy products and natural cosmetics)
  • Medical technology (such as syringes and wound dressings, as well as high-technology implanted devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators, hip and other orthopaedic implants)
  • In vitro diagnostics (instruments and test reagents for pathology tests requested by doctors as well as over-the-counter tests such as blood glucose meters for diabetes testing or home pregnancy test kits)

If you would like to make a complaint about an advertisement or other conduct by a company you will find further information about how to lodge your complaint and what you can expect from the complaints process on the websites listed below.

Where you should go to make your complaint will depend on the type of product involved and where you saw or heard the advertisement.

First, where did you see or hear the advertisement? The Complaints Resolution Panel (CRP) deals with complaints about advertisements for any therapeutic product directed to consumers in TV, radio, the internet, newspapers, magazines, displays (except inside individual shops) and in cinemas. The CRP mailbox for complaints can be found here: http://www.tgacrp.com.au/index.cfm?pageID=19

If your complaint is about an advertisement not covered by the CRP, you need to consider what type of product it is, referring to the general grouping of products listed above. Your complaint can be directed to the relevant industry associations under its self-regulatory Code of Conduct/Practice. If you are unsure where to go, any of the industry associations listed below will be happy to guide you to the most appropriate person to contact.

Type of therapeutic Industry Association Website Contacts
Prescribed medicines – innovator medicines Medicines Australia http://medicinesaustralia.com.au/code-of-conduct/lodging-responding-to-a-code-of-conduct-complaint/ Telephone:(02) 6122 8500 and ask for the Code of Conduct Secretary
Prescribed medicines – generic medicines Generic Medicines Industry Association http://www.gmia.com.au/code-of-practice.html Email:code@gmia.com.au
Non-prescription consumer healthcare products Australian Self Medication Industry http://www.asmi.com.au/about/ASMI-Code-of-Practice.aspx Telephone:(02) 9922 5111 Email: steve@asmi.com.au
Complementary medicines and natural healthcare products Complementary Healthcare Council of Australia http://www.chc.org.au/Complaints Telephone:(02) 6260 4022 Email:standards@chc.org.au
Medical technology and diagnostics Medical Technology Association of Australia http://www.mtaa.org.au/code-of-practice Telephone:(02) 9900 0650 Email:code@mtaa.org.au
In vitro diagnostics IVD Australia http://www.ivd.org.au/about-us/code-of-conduct/ Telephone (02) 8007 6632 Email:info@ivd.org.au
Dental products (Medical Devices) Australian Dental Industry Association http://www.adia.org.au/membership/code Telephone 1300 943 094

 Lodging a Complaint

Code of Conduct complaint submission form

 Independent Facilitator

Medicines Australia offers the services of an independent facilitator to assist non-industry complainants in formulating a complaint and identifying sections of the Code that may be relevant to the complaint. This service (to a maximum of 2 hours) is provided free of charge to a non-industry complainant.

If you wish to access the independent facilitator, please contact the Secretary, Code of Conduct Committee at Medicines Australia on (02) 6122 8500 (9.00am – 5.00pm Monday – Friday) or send an email to the Secretary Code Committee at Medicines Australia.

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