About AusBiotech - Code of Conduct

AusBiotech Code of Conduct

AusBiotech has developed a Code of Conduct to provide guidelines for AusBiotech members to provide an approach to reponsible practice. The AusBiotech Code of Conduct can be accessed here.

Promotion of therapeutic products

In early 2012 the "working group on promotion of therapeutic products" brought together key industry stakeholders, including AusBiotech, to debate whether or not companies, including medical device companies, should prescribe to a harmonised code of conduct to achieve TGA registration.

The working group has agreed to a set of principles and AusBiotech has signed up to support them. AusBiotech is now in the process of reviewing its code of conduct to see how it may be amended to meet the spirit of the review and align with expectations from the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, the Hon Catherine King.

Who to contact to complain about an advertisement or the conduct of a company supplying therapeutic products

The therapeutic goods industry associations each have a self-regulatory Code of Conduct or Code of Practice which sets the standards for companies when promoting a medicine or medical technology. The Codes of Conduct/Practice include mechanisms for dealing with complaints about advertising and other conduct by companies. In addition there is a complaints process that deals with complaints about certain types of advertising about ALL types of therapeutic goods where the advertising appears in the mainstream media (such as TV and radio).

The therapeutic goods industry is broadly organised around the types of products its member companies supply:
• Prescribed medicines (medicines that you can only get with a prescription). This sector includes both companies that are researching new medicines (innovator companies) and companies that are supplying generic medicines once all valid patents have expired
• Non-prescription consumer healthcare products (including medicines you can get from a pharmacy without a script and those you can buy in a supermarket)
• Complementary medicines and natural healthcare products (including vitamins, mineral and nutritional supplements, special purpose foods, herbal and homoeopathic medicines, aromatherapy products and natural cosmetics)
• Medical technology (such as syringes and wound dressings, as well as high-technology implanted devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators, hip and other orthopaedic implants)
• In vitro diagnostics (instruments and test reagents for pathology tests requested by doctors as well as over-the-counter tests such as blood glucose meters for diabetes testing or home pregnancy test kits)

If you would like to make a complaint about an advertisement or any other conduct by a company you will find further information about how to lodge your complaint and what you can expect from the complaints process on the websites listed below.

Where you should go to make your complaint will depend on the type of product involved and, if your complaint is about an advertisement, where you saw or heard the advertisement.

First, if your complaint is about an advertisement, where did you see or hear the advertisement? The Complaints Resolution Panel (CRP) deals with complaints about advertisements for any therapeutic product directed to consumers in TV, radio, the internet, newspapers, magazines, displays (except inside individual shops) and in cinemas. The CRP mailbox for complaints can be found here.

If your complaint is about an advertisement not covered by the CRP or is about the conduct of a particular company, you need to consider what type of product the advertisement or conduct relates to referring to the general grouping of products listed above. Your complaint can be directed to the relevant industry associations under its self-regulatory Code of Conduct/Practice. If you are unsure where to go, any of the industry associations listed below will be happy to guide you to the most appropriate person to contact.

Type of therapeutic product Industry association Contact details
Prescribed medicines – innovator medicines Medicines Australia Phone 02 6122 8500 and ask for the Code of Conduct Secretary or email: codesecretary@medicinesaustralia.com.au
Prescribed medicines – generic medicines Generic Medicines Industry Association Email: code@gmia.com.au
Non-prescription consumer healthcare products Australian Self Medication Industry Phone 02 9922 5111 or email: steve@asmi.com.au
Complementary medicines and natural healthcare products Complementary Healthcare Council of Australia Phone 02 6260 4022 or email: standards@chc.org.au
Medical devices and diagnostics Medical Technology Association of Australia Phone 02 9900 0650 or email code@mtaa.org.au
In vitro diagnostics IVD Australia  
Dental products (Medical Devices) Australian Dental Industry Association Phone 1300 943 094

To download a copy of the AusBiotech Code of Conduct click here.