Responsible advertising in healthcare forum

Responsible advertising in healthcare forum


In August 2017, key stakeholders with an interest in the advertising of regulated health services, attended a forum to discuss responsible advertising by registered health practitioners, corporate entities and other advertisers. Responsible advertising is a very important focus for the work of the National
Registration Accreditation Scheme and really, at its heart, is the information
that consumers and the community have and are able to access to be able to make safe and well-informed healthcare choices. The forum, hosted by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency or AHPRA, was attended by representatives from the 14 national boards regulating health professions, other government regulators working in the healthcare space, consumers and advocacy groups, professional associations and health profession insurers. It is the responsibility of all government agencies to try and work together rather than finger-pointing at one another. And I know from our own perspective the ACCC meets with AHPRA and the TGA on a regular basis. The regulation of advertising by healthcare professionals is now much more complex due to increased corporatisation of, and competition between healthcare providers, together with the rapid development of advertising on social media. From the regulator’s perspective, advertising has changed as for the consumer and the
practitioner. Regulators need to recognise and adapt to changes in
technology, business models and marketing plans No longer is there just hardcopy
media but also there is electronic or digital provision of the guidelines, the
message and the advertising. The web, the internet, the search engines, Facebook, Twitter and chat groups. Regulators are now much more concerned with protecting the public from false, misleading or deceptive advertising. We’ve spent quite a lot of time now working with national boards to make sure that through professional associations and other groups that there is high quality material that clarifies what it is appropriate to show and what it isn’t appropriate to show in advertising of regulated health services. The advertising compliance and enforcement strategy for the national scheme was launched by AHPRA and national boards in April in response to a high number of complaints about advertising. We have in partnership with
the boards done this work to understand which of the sort of tools in our
regulatory toolkit we can apply to support practitioners’ compliance with
the expectations set out in the national law and more broadly around the
advertising of regulated health services. At the end of the day what we’re all
aiming for is less misleading advertising dealt with in a more time
effective manner. At the forum, stakeholders provided feedback to AHPRA about the strategy including those representing the important consumer voice. Consider that for consumers, insufficient information can be, and is, as problematic as inaccurate information and that maybe we need to look at the
question of regulating not only what people can’t say but perhaps what they are required to say. All stakeholders agreed that while progress has been made, there is still much more that can be done to help health practitioners meet their legal and professional obligations to advertise responsibly. We’re dealing with provisions that say you should tell the truth, you should not make claims that you can’t live up to and you should not engage in unethical practices that are part and parcel of being a professional. To watch videos of the forum panel discussions and to read a forum report go to www.ahpra.gov.au

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *