AUSTRALIA: The Australian government’s medicine authority recently levied a combined penalty of almost $1 million on medical cannabis companies. These companies made fraudulent claims about the effectiveness of their prescription products in treating critical diseases, including cancer and epilepsy.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) fined the medical marijuana businesses MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Cannatrek Ltd, and Little Green Pharma Ltd a combined $972,360 for 73 violations.
The alleged illegal promotion of medical cannabis products on websites and social media platforms was the subject of the infringements.
To protect consumers from misleading or fraudulent claims and to guarantee that medical advice only comes from qualified experts who have seen the patient and are familiar with their medical history, it is illegal to market prescription drugs to the general public in Australia.
The TGA claims that the companies illegally advertised prescription-only medicinal cannabis products, including claims on their websites that the goods may treat life-threatening illnesses like cancer and epilepsy.
Furthermore, some advertising allegedly indicated or implied that specific medicinal cannabis products were recommended or approved by a government entity, the TGA said in a statement.
“Because Australians with serious diseases or conditions are a particularly vulnerable consumer group, using statements regarding serious diseases or conditions in marketing is therefore prohibited without express authorization from the TGA.”
The president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Adj Prof. Karen Price, stated that medicinal cannabis is occasionally recommended as a “last-resort medicine for specific conditions.”
The “quality of evidence” differs depending on the medical issue, and “in certain circumstances is inconclusive or insufficient to demonstrate any benefit to patients,” she said.
MGC Pharmaceuticals‘ website is unavailable due to maintenance.
MGC released a statement in which it claimed that it had “cooperated fully with the TGA to resolve the issues raised, including removing all posts of concern from its social media channels, some of which were third-party posts, and placing the company’s website into maintenance.”
New internal procedures will be put in place to prevent a repeat of the incident, and the website will go online again in November, according to the statement.