Push to allow S3 advertising

2 minute read

A lobby-group push is on to permit companies to advertise some pharmacist-only (S3) medications

Pharmaceutical companies should be allowed to advertise pharmacist-only, or S3, medications, according to the Australian Self-Medication Industry.

The TGA has opened up consultation on the advertising ban on these drugs, which the administration acknowledges is “unique to Australia”.

“The Australian Self-Medication Industry’s default position is that all S3 medications should be allowed to be advertised unless there are good public health reasons why they shouldn’t be,” the lobby group’s marketing and business director Ms Filomena Maise said.

“Consequently, our proposed advertising model includes a clearly defined ‘non-advertisable’ list for products that fit certain exemption criteria, such as products with a history of misuse, abuse or diversion for illegal use.”

In its submission to the TGA, the group would propose that consumer advertising require a structured format that included disease awareness and emphasised the role of the pharmacist, she said.

The lobby group is also pushing for a better capacity to down-schedule prescription medicines from S4 to S3.

The TGA has proposed a number of changes recommended by the lobby group, including a dedicated “switch” committee which would undertake a review to determine whether medications would be eligible for down-scheduling.

The administration also proposes a period of market exclusivity for the applicant which initiated the rescheduling decision.

Switching medicines from S4 to S3 has the potential to save the government millions, with one Australian report estimating cost savings of $1.1 billion to the healthcare system if 11 prescription-only drugs were made available over-the-counter.

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