The ASMI Code of Practice

In November 2016, the ASMI Code of practice was updated to include a series of changes that were approved by ASMI members at the AGM on 18 November 2016. These were changes in nomenclature consequent to ASMI transitioning from an incorporated association to a company limited by guarantee: "ASMI Inc" was replaced with "ASMI Ltd", "Executive Director" was replaced with "CEO", "Committee of Management" was replaced with "Board" and the definitions were updated accordingly. For information on the substantial changes made to the Code following the 2012 AGM, please see the section below "Historical Note - Substantial Changes to the Code following the 2012 AGM".

ASMI Code of Practice (November 2016)


What is the ASMI Code of Practice?

The ASMI Code of Practice sets the ethical standards for advertising and promotion of non-prescription consumer healthcare products in Australia.

This system of self-regulation complements the co-regulatory advertising controls and the legislative requirements of the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990 and Therapeutic Goods Act 1989

It follows the National Medicines Policy which aims to improve health outcomes for all Australians. 

The provisions of the Code are applied to promotional material in below-the-line activity directed to consumers and to marketing support directed to healthcare professionals.

Acceptance and observance of the Code's provisions are binding and a condition of membership of ASMI.

Objectives of the Code

To assist Members to:

  • Responsibly inform consumers about products
  • Make accurate, balanced and objective claims
  • Promote the Quality Use of Medicines (QUM)

Monitoring of the Code

The Code is monitored and reviewed by ASMI's Marketing & Ethics Subcommittee.

The annual Code review process takes into consideration the views of both internal and external stakeholders.

Applications of the Code

These include:

  • Principles of Practice - conduct of Members and compliance with law (Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code and Good Manufacturing Practice)
  • Nature of advertising and promotion - misleading claims, substantiation with scientific evidence and comparative advertising
  • Promotional techniques for Pharmacy Medicines (Schedule 2) or Pharmacist Only Medicines (Schedule 3) or internal analgesics
  • Direct-to-consumer advertising of Pharmacist Only Medicines (Schedule 3)
  • Indirect/unbranded consumer advertising
  • Specific requirements for advertising and promotion to healthcare professionals
  • Consumer Medicine Information (CMI)
  • Administration of the Code - complaints handling procedure, complaints panel and appeal process
  • Protocol for the activities of the Promotional Monitoring Panel

Guidelines for Members

Guidelines for ASMI Members for the preparation of Complaints and Responses in proceedings before the ASMI Complaints Panel

Guidelines for ASMI Members for procedures and interpretation of ASMI Code of Practice 2010

For information on outcomes of complaints see the Code Determinations page.


Historical Note - Substantial Changes to the Code following the 2012 AGM

In 2013, ASMI made substantial changes to the ASMI Code of Practice following the approval of a range of amendments by ASMI members at the AGM on 11 December 2012.

The update was in response to the recommendations of the Working Group on Promotion of Therapeutic Products (the Trimmer Group).

Following extensive consultation with our members and with external stakeholders, we made changes to the high level principles, operational areas and governance provisions of our Code. Other changes were also made to clarify the operation of the Code and to correct minor errors.

Please see below the final version of the Code together with a marked copy identifying all the changes that were made.

Historical ASMI Code of Practice

Marked up version of the Code showing changes from the previous edition


If you have any questions regarding the ASMI Code, please contact Steve Scarff on 02 9922 5111 or