In the second of a two-part investigation into the TGA’s handling of medicinal cannabis advertising complaints, Cannabiz editor-at-large Rhys Cohen analyses the body’s own data to explore how effective its procedures are and suggests industry self-regulation may be the best way forward.

In last week’s first instalment of this story, I claimed that of a sample of 96 medicinal cannabis advertising complaints completed since 2018, the TGA missed their time-to-action performance target in more than 50% of cases.

Join the Cannabiz revolution

Want to stay ahead of the cannabis curve with the latest local and international news, analysis and intelligence and access to Australia's legal cannabis industry?

This article is included with our Premium subscription.

This is how I arrived at that conclusion:

The data I’m relying on here is a combination of the TGA’s own online database of advertising compliance cases, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request I submitted, and the 2019-20 annual report I mentioned (unfortunately the 2018-19 annual report has only a single, passing mention of medicinal cannabis). 

It is worth explaining how I have pieced these sources together.

Cannabiz editor-at-large Rhys Cohen

First of all, the TGA does not release any case-level details regarding complaints that have not yet been completed, which is understandable. 

When I first approached the TGA about advertising, I was directed to the online database of completed cases. As it turns out, when the TGA completes low-risk complaints, it does not bother reporting any information on the nature of the complaint in the public database. So from the database, it is impossible to identify which low-risk complaints were regarding medicinal cannabis.