Ironing out the wrinkles when advertising Botox

Some medical practitioners and beauty therapists are advertising to the general public, therapeutic goods or substances by name that are available only as "prescription-only" items.

Advertisements for therapeutic goods, including those used in cosmetic services, must comply with the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.

Under the Act, therapeutic goods containing prescription only substances (substances included in Schedule 4 or 8 of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons) cannot be advertised to consumers.  This includes most injections for cosmetic use.

References to the active ingredients in such products and abbreviations of either the trade or ingredient names are also unacceptable.   This includes:

  • Restylane, Perlane, Dermalive (hyaluronic acid)
  • Hylaform (hyaluronan, sodium hyaluronate)
  • Collagen, Zyderm, Zyplast (collagen)
  • Botox, Dysport (botulinum toxin)
  • Newfill, Nufill (polylactic acid)
  • Aquamid (polyacrylamide)

These above substances are listed as Schedule 4 and are regulated as “prescription-only” items.

 DEFINITION OF AN ADVERTISEMENT

In relation to therapeutic goods, an advertisement is broadly defined as any statement, image or design that is intended to promote a product.  This includes promotion in traditional media, such as:

  • television
  • radio
  • newspapers, magazines and pamphlets
  • posters and displays, including those located in stores and surgeries.

It also includes electronic media, such as:

  • websites
  • emails
  • blogs and discussion forums
  • social media

SUGGESTED ALTERNATIVES

Alternative phrases as listed below will enable medical practitioners and cosmetic/beauty therapists to continue promoting their businesses and services, whilst also complying with the regulatory advertising requirements for therapeutic goods. ducting

Below is a list of acceptable general terms that can be used to describe certain cosmetic injections in advertisements.

Examples of these general phrases include:

  • cosmetic injections;
  • anti-wrinkle injections / treatments;
  • wrinkle injections / treatments;
  • injections / treatments for lips;
  • injections / treatments for fine lines / folds / age lines;
  • wrinkle and lip enhancement / fulfilment / augmentation;
  • injections to enhance pouting of the lips; or
  • injections which reduce the depth of fine lines / wrinkles around the face / lips.

Or other words and phrases with similar meaning, but without referring to specific products or ingredient names.

PENALTIES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE

When non-compliant advertising comes to the TGA’s attention, the advertiser is notified and in the first instance, the TGA seeks to inform, educate and assist advertisers to comply with the rules relating to advertising.

However, if this approach fails, the TGA may take regulatory action. The Act provides for financial penalties for advertising breaches. In 2013, fines for such breaches can be:

  • up to $10,200 for individuals
  • up to $51,000 for corporations.

 

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