Goods and consumer issues

Date of this Version


Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Citation only

Weir, M. J. (2011). Goods and consumer issues. Law and Ethics in Complementary Medicine, (152-186). Sydney, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

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2011 HERDC submission. FoR code: 180199

© Copyright Michael Weir, 2011





As well as supplying services, many practitioners supply substances such as vitamins, food supplements and herbs to their clients. The Commonwealth government wants to ensure that these substances are not harmful to users, are manufactured properly, perform as represented and are advertised in a way that does not mislead the users. The Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth) (’TGA’) or state equivalents apply to many of these substances. Most professional activities are exempt if certain criteria apply, but it is vital for the practitioner to know what these criteria are in order to stay within the law. The chapter provides a general overview of some of the provisions likely to be relevant to complementary medicine practitioners. As the TGA is complex and very specific in relation to how it may impact on particular substances and practices, practitioners should seek independent legal advice on any matters that apply directly to their practice.
This chapter will also discuss consumer legislation such as the Sale of Goods Acts, Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (formerly the Trade Practices Act) and Fair Trading Acts, which affect the way a practitioner may market and advertise their goods and services. Like any business, practitioners need to avoid representations that are false, misleading or deceptive to their clients. In addition this chapter will briefly deal with the provisions of the national Australian Consumer Law, which may impact upon the enforceability of consumer contracts entered into by complementary medicine practitioners where the terms of that contract could be seen as unfair.

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This document has been peer reviewed.