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New Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code drops on online influencers

The Australian medical regulator announced the new Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (Code), banning online influencers from receiving any rewards for promoting products.

The Code is designed to impart higher ethical standards for advertising health goods online. The health and beauty sector of the internet has been previously dominated by spruiker online influencers on Facebook and Instagram. However, it was difficult for users to determine whether their favourite model truly liked a product or was just being paid to say so. With this new Code, online influencers are not allowed to receive any perks, be it monetary, samples, or otherwise, to promote skincare and beauty products. This effectively means that online influencers may only promote products if they receive nothing in return.

However, instead of a blanket ban, the Code only applies to the categories of:

  • sunscreens
  • protein powders
  • vitamins
  • skincare for acne
  • medicines, and
  • skin lighting products.

This exhaustive list was used to prevent influencers from claiming to have formal expertise or qualifications related to the above categories. As such, the Code exists to promote the safe and effective use of therapeutic products and improve transparency in online advertising.

This Code will undoubtedly have a profound impact on online beauty gurus as well as the health and wellness industry online. Moreover, it will be interesting to see whether similar advertising reforms will be introduced to other online sectors.

Online influencers currently have until 1 July 2022 to remove all paid or incentivised product reviews and testimonials from their channels and pages.

For the full reading of the Code, see here.

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