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Swisse pushes for self-regulation regarding advertising complaints

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Swisse pushes for self-regulation regarding advertising complaints

Complementary medicines giant Swisse wants the Federal Government to strip the TGA of its powers to deal with complaints about complementary medicines advertising.

Instead, it wants a self-regulation model that would rely on consumers reporting concerns and complaints about complementary medicines to the ACCC and the Advertising Standards Bureau.

In its 2017/18 pre-budget submission, Swisse argues the TGA complaints resolution process is “complex, obscure and insufficient”.

The ACCC is the appropriate body to handle complaints as negligent practice and non-compliance fell under the ‘misleading conduct’ provisions of consumer laws, it says.

“The TGA risk-management approach that is appropriate for … pharmaceuticals is not consistent with the public health risks associated with complementary medicines.”

The Swisse budget push comes on the back of a Sansom Review recommendation — accepted by the government — to revamp the TGA complaints process.

Complementary Medicines Australia CEO Carl Gibson says the current resolution panel is “outdated and out of touch”.

It can take two years for complaints to be resolved and the TGA panel has few powers and “even less deterrents”, he says.

“As a responsible industry we want to see advertising approvals reformed and a complaints system that has real teeth — one that has deterrents and penalties for those who do the wrong thing.”


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