Responsible advertising of health services

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and the National Boards today published a strategy for the National Scheme which explains how they will manage advertising complaints and compliance, including the regulatory powers available to deal with breaches of the National Law.

Section 133 of the National Law makes it a criminal offence for any person (including registered health practitioners) to advertise a regulated health service or a business that provides a regulated health service, in a way that:

  • is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to be misleading or deceptive
  • 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
  • uses testimonials or purported testimonials about the service or business
  • creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment; or
  • directly or indirectly encourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services.

The definition of a regulated health service is very broad and applies to public and private services. It is not constrained to direct clinical services.

With thanks to Timothy Bowen for noting this development.


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