How to spot a dodgy health product ad

Ads for health products are everywhere, but don’t believe everything you read.

Some ads break the law, whether it’s by offering a miracle cure or advertising an unapproved medicine. Other ads just need a little extra scrutiny, such as a fad treatment promoted by a social media influencer.

Our tips can help you avoid dodgy health products and challenge bogus advertisements when you see them.

Misleading claims

If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Ads for health products must be truthful. If these ads mislead, they are illegal. This includes any claim that a medicine is 100% effective, a miracle cure, harmless or free of side effects. Ads for weight loss medicines must also say that the product only works as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Unapproved medicines

Before you buy, check for an AUST number.

Every approved medicine has an AUST L, AUST L(A) or AUST R number on the label. Medicines that do not have an AUST number are unapproved and may contain prohibited or dangerous ingredients, or may be manufactured in unsanitary conditions. Advertising unapproved medicines is illegal.

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