Following on from our submission last year to the Discussion Paper, Research Australia has welcomed the acknowledgment of the importance of research in the new draft National Medicines Policy (NMP). Research Australia has used our submission to highlight further areas under the policy’s pillars where research can play a critical role, and has called for a dedicated stream of funding for research to support the Policy’s implementation and objectives.
Research Australia believes the Governance and Implementation sections of the draft policy need more work and has joined with the medicines sector and consumer groups to call for further consultation before the NMP is finalised. The Government has now heeded this call, with the Minister for Health announcing on 23 March that there would be further consultation before the Policy is finalised.
Read Research Australia’s submission here.
The 2022 National Medicines Policy was subsequently published on 20 December 2022, and the role of research is recognised in several areas, including as an enabler of the Policy. The Policy is available from the Department of Health’s website here.
Research Australia’s submission to the review of the National Medicines Policy has made the case for researchers to be formally recognised as partners in the Policy alongside government, industry, healthcare providers and consumers. We have also supported the expansion of the policy to include vaccines and new health technologies. Our submission provides examples of how the Policy can be more consumer-centric, by making better use of the data already collected to understand consumer behaviour in relation to medicines.
Read Research Australia’s submission.
The advertising of medicines in Australia is subject to strict controls. The new Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code, due to commence on 1 January 2019, emphasises the importance of truthfulness and accuracy in all claims made in advertising for medicines, and the need for advertising to support consumers’ informed decision making.
The TGA has developed draft guidance to assist with the interpretation of the new Code, and discusses ‘puffery’, a claim so exaggerated that no reasonable person could take it seriously. The Guidance suggests that puffery may be permissible in the advertising of medicines. Research Australia’s position is that this should not be the case. It is both inconsistent with the Code and the low levels and wide variability of health literacy in Australia. Some vulnerable consumers can be misled and unduly influenced by exaggerated claims that would be dismissed by most consumers as unbelievable and just ‘marketing’. It is our position that puffery should not be permitted in the advertising of medicines.
Research Australia’s submission
Update: The TGA issued a final version of the Guidance on the Advertising Code (and an amended Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code) on 31 October. The new Guidance states ‘Puffery by its nature is not truthful. It is exaggerated, inaccurate and unsubstantiated and should not be used in advertisements for therapeutic goods.’
The Code and the Guidance are available from the TGA website.