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.

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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.

Rhys Cohen

As well as being editor-at-large at Cannabiz, Rhys is the director of Cannabis Consulting Australia, which provides commercial consulting services to various domestic and international cannabis companies....