Three medicinal cannabis companies have been clobbered with a combined 73 advertising infringement notices and been fined close to A$1m by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
Little Green Pharma was hit with a $372,960 penalty for alleged unlawful advertising of cannabis on 28 occasions, Cannatrek was fined close to $300,000 for 22 alleged infringements and MGC Pharmaceuticals was fined $306,360 for 23 alleged breaches.
All were for allegedly advertising medicinal cannabis products on their websites and social media platforms.
The TGA said the firms “allegedly promoted the use of prescription-only medicinal cannabis products, including in certain cases their own named products.
“It is also alleged that the unlawful advertising included unapproved references to the treatment of serious diseases or conditions, including in some cases cancer and epilepsy.
“Further, some advertising allegedly suggested or implied that particular medicinal cannabis products were recommended or approved by a government authority.”
The regulator added in a statement: “While the TGA facilitates legal pathways for medical practitioners to prescribe medicinal cannabis products to patients, the medicinal cannabis products that are [the] subject of these infringement notices are unapproved prescription-only medicines that cannot be advertised to consumers.”
It said the advertising of prescription-only medicines directly to consumers “undermines the doctor-patient relationship and may create an inappropriate demand for particular medicines which may not be right for the individual”.
“Ensuring compliance with the import, advertising and supply requirements of the Act in relation to medicinal cannabis is a priority for the TGA,” it said. “We will continue to investigate and take action in relation to alleged non-compliant advertising of medicinal cannabis products to the public.”
Cannabiz has approached LGP, Cannatrek and MGC for comment.