ASMI says S3 advertising reform long overdue

13 October 2014

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13 October 2014 - The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said that S3 advertising restrictions constrain the ability of sponsors to make consumers aware of medicines that are available without a prescription, and regulatory reform is long overdue.
In a presentation at the annual Pharmacy Australia Conference (PAC), ASMI Executive Director, Dr Deon Schoombie, proposed a new regulatory model of consumer communication for S3 medicines, based on a structured framework to provide information in a balanced way.

"The two main objectives of the proposed model are to create consumer awareness of therapeutic options in the Schedule 3 category in a structured, balanced and responsible way, and to encourage consumers to seek counselling from pharmacists," explained Dr Schoombie.

"All Schedule 3 medicines should be permitted to be advertised, as is the case in a number of comparable markets overseas," said Dr Schoombie, "although provision needs to be made for exceptions, on a case-by-case basis, where it can be demonstrated that direct-to-consumer advertising would not be in the public interest, such as for products containing pseudoephedrine and codeine containing analgesics."
Dr Schoombie proposed a structured communication format comprising three key components:

  • Information about the condition: this aims to inform consumers about the symptoms and/or condition for which the product is indicated.
  • Mandatory intervention by a pharmacist: this component of the communication strategy/process aims to promote and reinforce the professional role of the pharmacist. It will emphasise the need for counselling to determine whether the product is appropriate for a particular condition and/or consumer and aims to clarify that a product request does not automatically result in the supply of that product.
  • Branded product information: the brand awareness component is a critical element to make the model viable, but it takes a secondary role to the more important educational aspects of the communication.

"Removing restrictions on consumer communication about S3 medicines should help to expand the professional role of pharmacists, who are well-placed to play a greater part in the delivery of primary healthcare.

"The ageing population and increasing burden of disease pose enormous challenges for continuing to provide health services at sustainable levels. Empowering consumers to take more responsibility for their health and measures to make better use of scarce healthcare resources are some of the policy responses to these challenges," added Dr Schoombie.


About ASMI: The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak body representing sponsors of non-prescription medicines - over-the-counter (OTC) and complementary medicines (CM). ASMI members make up 85 per cent of the $4bn Non-Prescription Medicines market. Membership totals 50 companies and ASMI members employ approximately 18,000 people with exports estimated at $1.2 billion annually. ASMI's mission is to advance consumer health through responsible self-care. This means driving a viable and responsible industry and empowering the consumer with evidence-based products and information with the aim of improving health and wellbeing. To find out more about ASMI or how to become an ASMI member, please visit (

For more information or to arrange a media interview, please contact:
Marie Kelly-Davies
PR Manager, Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI)
P: 9923 9410 M:0408 256 381 E: