What you need to know about influencers and brand ambassdors

There appears to be a bit of a frenzy with regards to how the new Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) social media guidelines will impact our industry, with restrictions on what influences will be allowed and not allowed to do from July 1, 2022.  

However, a closer look at the guidelines reveals that there is some misunderstanding as to how these guidelines are interpreted. While you can check them yourself on the TGA website we are providing you here a simple explanation of what the rules require. 

Who is the TGA

First and foremost, we need to understand that as the name indicated, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has jurisdiction only over any claims that are made on the action or activity of a product that would be classified as “therapeutic” – they do not regulation cosmetic claims such as improving the appearance – look and feel of the skin or body.

Their regulations therefore impact three specific categories:

MEDICINES:  These include ingredients such as anaesthetics, prescription and non-prescription drugs that create changes in the body, such as pain-management and other medicinal changes.

DEVICES:  All devices that alter the tissue or impact internal organs in the body are classified as medical.  As far as our industry is concerns medical devices include IPL, Lasers, Dermal-needling, plasma skin tightening, body toning and slimming devices, etc.  To claim their potential activity, your device will need to be TGA listed or registered.  If your device is not TGA listed or registered, you can still use it, however, you are not permitted to state what treatment outcomes can be achieved with it.   

BIOLOGICAL SUBSTANCES: These include ingredients such as sunscreens, growth hormones and human stem cells and cosmeceuticals that make therapeutic claims. However, general skincare cosmetic activities that improves the appearance of the skin are not considered as therapeutic and do not require TGA listing. 

Coming back to the influencers promoting a product, the code implies a restriction rather than a ban. Influences are allowed to endorse a product that is gifted to them and comment that they love using it or that it makes them look and feel great, however, what they are not allowed to say is how the product worked, such as “tightened my skin, removed wrinkles, healed my acne” etc. 

While these guidelines were introduced late last year, they don’t come into effect as a regulation until July 1, this year.  What that means if influences previously have made references to a therapeutic activity, those statements must be removed from any social media platforms by July 1, 2022.

Providing these guidelines are met, companies can still utilised brand ambassadors or influences to promote their products.

In essence these guidelines provide a restriction of what can be said about a product or equipment, they don’t necessarily ban someone speaking about them.  It all comes down to avoid “therapeutic” claims.