COVID-19 AdHelp Information

To assist advertisers to comply with the ASA Codes, we have developed AdHelp information on advertising therapeutic and health products and services during COVID-19 – this is available here.

Advertisers need to ensure their advertising is socially responsible and protects consumers from undue fear or confusion. Please read the Advertising Standards Code,  which applies to all ads in all media.

We are aware of an increase in advertising for therapeutic and health products and services, and would like to remind advertisers of their responsibilities under the Therapeutic and Health Advertising Code.

A reminder that prior to preparing and placing their advertisements, advertisers are expected to;

  • Be familiar with the relevant legislation and codes; and
  • Observe a high standard of social responsibility; and
  • Ensure their advertisements are truthful and they must not be misleading; and
  • Ensure their advertisements do not confuse consumers, abuse their trust, exploit their lack of knowledge or, without justifiable reason, play on fear; and
  • Ensure their advertisements do not exaggerate or raise unrealistic expectations or outcomes.

Important points to remember when advertising therapeutic and health products or services include:

  • COVID-19 has not resulted in any changes to the legislation or codes that advertisers of therapeutic and health products or services are expected to adhere to.
  • The legislation and codes apply to both actual and implied claims in advertisements.
  • Only products and services specified in the Medicines Act 1981 are able to make therapeutic purpose claims in advertisements, including any therapeutic purpose claims to test, diagnose, prevent, treat or cure COVID-19. Any therapeutic purpose claims must be able to be substantiated by the advertiser.
  • Other products and services may make health benefit claims in advertisements only if such claims can be substantiated by the advertiser. Health benefit claims should not refer to COVID-19 or imply a reference to COVID-19.
  • Claims for hand sanitiser products that refer to COVID-19 or imply a reference to COVID-19 must be able to be substantiated by the advertiser.

We encourage you to review our AdHelp Information on COVID-19 and Advertising Therapeutic and Health Products or Services, which provides in-depth information on the use of actual and implied Therapeutic Purpose and Health Benefit claims, rules for substantiation of these claims, along with important information on advertising hand sanitisers. Please feel free to share this with anyone in your network who may find this useful.

If you are considering advertising a therapeutic or health related product or service and have any questions not covered by the information we have provided, we strongly recommend reaching out to the Therapeutic Advertising Pre-Vetting Service (TAPS) to help minimise the risk of a legal or code breach. Information about TAPS is available on the ANZA website. If you have any questions on advertisements outside the scope of TAPS, you can email us via asa@asa.co.nz.

If you’re a member of the public and you see an advertisement that you believe breaches the codes, please use our complaints form. If you are an advertiser, use our competitor complaints process.

If the Complaints Board upholds a complaint, the advertiser will be asked to remove the advertising.

We are happy to help with any ad standards queries and work with you to support responsible advertising.

The ASA team are working remotely and all core services are operating.Click here to learn more
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