Anyone making claims about the effectiveness of acupuncture in their advertising should note that advertisers must not advertise health benefits of their services when there is not acceptable evidence that these benefits can be achieved.
Under the National Law, the evidence needed for therapeutic claims in advertising and the evidence to be used in clinical decision-making about particular treatments is different. A higher standard of evidence is required to support claims made in advertising regulated health services. This is because in advertising, a statement may be easily misinterpreted or taken out of context and then become misleading. It is the overall impression created by the advertising that will be judged and, as such, it is possible for statements that are technically true to be misleading or deceptive in certain contexts.
While the findings of this project might be used to inform clinical decision-making, it should not be relied upon to make claims in advertising.
For further information about the kind of evidence necessary to support claims made in advertising, please refer to the following resources, available on AHPRA’s website:
Frequently Asked Questions about advertising and evidence
Check, Correct, Comply webpage.
The Chinese Medicine Board of Australia has also published a position statement about making therapeutic claims in advertising and Check your Advertising: Chinese medicine examples – which outlines examples of advertising claims that don’t meet the legal requirements and how to make them compliant.