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Are influencers now banned from promoting health products? The TGA has clarified what the new rules mean

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Over the weekend, you may have seen some headlines that influencers are now banned from providing testimonials about some health products due to new laws introduced by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

What are the new rules?

The new Code refers to social media influencers providing testimonials about therapeutic goods, which are products that have a health effect on the human body and may have risks involved.

The key change is that influencers cannot speak about their personal experience or feelings about a therapeutic good, such as sunscreen, if they have been paid to do so or have been offered the product for free. The Code does not apply to cosmetics or foods.

The TGA has clarified that influencers can still be engaged in a business’ marketing strategy if the influencer does not provide a personal account of their experience using the product. This includes before and after photos. Testimonials from people who have not been incentivised or paid are still allowed.

For example, influencers can still promote sunscreen. However, if they have been paid, they cannot talk about their personal experience with the sunscreen.

The rules apply to all social media influencers unless they are a health professional.

When did the laws come into effect?

The new code was announced by TGA last year but did not come into effect until 1 January this year.

There is currently a six month transition period in effect until 30 June.

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