Medical Board of Australia - More information about your advertising obligations
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More information about your advertising obligations

25 Oct 2016

The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) today published further information to help registered health practitioners to better understand their advertising obligations.

Section 133 of the National Law1 regulates the advertising of regulated health services (a service provided by, or usually provided by, a health practitioner as defined in the National Law).  

Section 133 means that a person must not advertise regulated health services in a way that:

  1. is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to be misleading or deceptive
  2. offers a gift, discount or other inducement to attract a person to use the service or the business, unless the advertisement also states the terms and conditions of the offer
  3. uses testimonials or purported testimonials about the service or business
  4. creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment, or
  5. directly or indirectly encourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services.

For the latest information published by the Board on advertising obligations, please refer to Further information on advertising therapeutic claims.

This information does not replace the Board’s Guidelines for advertising regulated health services, which should be your first point of reference to understand your obligations. You may also wish to seek appropriate advice, for example, from your legal advisor.  

The burden is on you to substantiate any claim you make that your treatments benefit patients. If you do not understand whether the claims you have made can be substantiated based on acceptable evidence, then remove them from your advertising.  

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is responsible for prosecuting breaches of the advertising requirements in the National Law. This means that when a notification is received about advertising, AHPRA, with the Board, needs to decide whether there has been a breach of your advertising obligations. 

As part of this process, we will use objective criteria to assess whether there is acceptable evidence to substantiate therapeutic claims in advertising. We will use appropriate experts to help us evaluate evidence where needed.

These are serious matters that can have serious consequences: if in doubt about a claim, leave it out of your advertising.  

1 Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory.

Page reviewed 25/10/2016