Fines for advertising cannabis and other prescription medicines

15 Dec 2023

Karen Stephens

by Karen Stephens

Medical Cannabis — Ai edit

Multiple fines for unlawful advertising of medicinal cannabis and other prescription medicines have been issued this year by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The fines include $132,000, $742,500 and $82,500 for companies, and $6,600, $13,320 and $9,900 for individuals. In October 2023, in Federal Court proceedings, the TGA obtained a combined $5 million penalty against a company and a Director for unlawfully advertising nicotine vaping products.

It is illegal to advertise prescription-only medicines (e.g. medicinal cannabis) to Australian consumers, under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989. The restriction relates to concerns that advertising prescription-only medicines directly to consumers undermines the doctor-patient relationship and may create an inappropriate demand for medicines which may not be right for the individual.

A doctor who is authorised to prescribe medicinal cannabis may promote this to the medical and pharmaceutical professions but not to the public. By way of example, websites and social media must not name medicinal cannabis, and patients must not be given the option to select a medicinal cannabis appointment from an online booking system.

The TGA’s compliance priorities for 2023-24 include the deterrence and disruption of unlawful advertising of nicotine vaping products, medicinal cannabis, psilocybin and MDMA.


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This blog contains general information only. We recommend you contact your medical defence organisation or insurer when you require specific advice in relation to medico-legal matters.



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