Influencers banned from promoting health products from vitamins to skincare in latest TGA crackdown


New advertising rules for social media influencers will ban them from promoting health products, such as vitamins or skincare, with the promise they will “diagnose, treat or cure” any health or skin condition.

The new advertising rules by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) aim to bring influencers in line with best practice, with influencers prohibited from promoting any therapeutic good that they have been paid to use.

As the TGA states, a therapeutic good ranges from medicines to medical devices. According to their broad definition, this can include sunscreen, skincare, vitamins, protein powders, collagen powders and other supplements.

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Influencer Tasha Franken endorsing JS Health Vitamins.
Influencer Tasha Franken endorsing JS Health Vitamins. (Instagram / @jshealthvitamins)

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The administration outlines that products with claims such as “‘removes toxins‘, ‘fades age spots‘, ‘relieves pain‘, ‘aids sugar metabolism‘, ‘reduces inflammation in the body‘ are all therapeutic use claims.”

For many Australian influencers, these new rulings will have a major impact on their business and how they approach their social media posting, given that most profit off paid partnerships with beauty and wellness brands.

The TGA has provided basic advertising rules for influencers to follow which include:

  • “Be accurate, balanced and substantiated
  • Only make claims that are consistent with the advertised good’s indication or intended purpose as it is recorded on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (the ARTG) or for exempt goods not on the ARTG consistent with documentation provided with the good.
  • Contain certain mandatory warning statements, which vary depending on the type of therapeutic good being advertised
  • Not claim that a product can diagnose, treat or cure a serious condition without prior permission or approval from the TGA.”

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The TGA explains that rules apply whether a payment is disclosed or not, and even if a testimonial made by the influencer is genuine, reports The Australian.

Bans also extend to those with expertise in a health-related field, including current and former health practitioners, health professionals and medical researchers.

For example, experts and brand ambassadors will be able to endorse products, but cannot provide testimonials for how the products work, due to their conflict of interest.

According to The Australian, the rules also prohibit advertising of therapeutic goods that plays on “fear and apprehension” or that may cause distress for public viewers.

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