Influencers will soon be banned from doing paid testimonials for skin and healthcare products, amid a crackdown by Australia’s medicine regulator.
Amendments to the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code will make it illegal for an influencer to receive cash or samples in exchange for reviews about skin and healthcare products, such as sunscreens, protein powders, vitamins, supplements, acne skincare, medicines and skin lightening products.
Under the rules, anyone who receives “valuable consideration” — including non-monetary items such as services, gifts, opportunities or any other incentive — for their testimonial is taken to be a person who is involved with the production, sale, supply or marketing of the goods, hence falling under the rules.
Critics suggest the new code, which comes into play from July 1, will not only impact content creators, but wellness and healthcare businesses reliant on influencer marketing.
Multinational law firm King & Wood Mallesons recently broke down the major changes and how they apply to influencers.
Regardless of whether a testimonial is genuine, anyone who receives “valuable consideration” is considered “involved with the production, sale, supply or marketing of the goods”, which prohibits them from making a testimonial.
Valuable consideration” would include non-monetary items such as services, gifts, opportunities or any other incentive, according to the law firm.
The code applies to all therapeutic goods. This includes medicines and medical devices, vitamins and also some cosmetics.
On its website, the Therapeutic Goods Administration use the example of a moisturiser with sunscreen that states it “helps protect skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation”. That would be considered a therapeutic good.
“Advertising of therapeutic goods requires a higher ethical standard than may apply for advertising of ordinary consumer goods because consumers rely on therapeutic goods for their health,” the TGA says of the need for the code.
The TGA has indicated the rules will also apply to posts that are currently live and therefore they will need to be taken down by July 1 if they do not meet the new code.
What do you think about the new laws?