Drug advertising

CHOICE calls for greater scrutiny of pharmaceutical marketing, its impact on medical practice and cost pressures on the health system.
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  • Updated:11 Jul 2008

02.Joint Australia NZ proposal

The Issue

A joint Australian and New Zealand regulatory agency for therapeutics will be established in 2008. This agency will be named the Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Authority.

One of the key issues to be agreed is drug advertising rules under the new agency.


The Interim Advertising Council released a report in October 2004 entitled the 'Proposed Trans-Tasman Model for the Regulation of the Advertising of Therapeutic Products'. The report proposes a new model for the regulation of advertising under the new joint agency. The report was approved with small changes in December 2005 by the Therapeutic Products Interim Ministerial Council.

The Draft Rule on Advertising outlines how the new model for the regulation of advertising is to be implemented.

What we want

  • The prohibition on direct-to-consumer-advertising (DTCA) in Australia should be retained and it should also be prohibited in New Zealand.
  • The National Medicines Policy needs to underpin any policy changes to the regulation of advertising, to ensure rational use of medicines.
  • We support the proposal for a “central mailbox” – it will simplify the complaints process and should be implemented, but it is vital that all complaints are handled and processed by this central mailbox committee and not delegated to industry bodies.
  • Sanctions should be increased to deter repeat beaches of the Code.
  • A greater focus needs to be placed on monitoring (while monitoring is mentioned as a function which both the Advertising Council and Advertising Management Subcommittee will undertake, it remains unclear how monitoring will be carried out).
  • There is a need for increased consumer participation in the governance of the structures proposed.
  • Resources need to be made available to fund a consumer education campaign about the proposed changes to the regulation of advertising. This will increase transparency and consumer confidence in the new regulatory scheme.

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