Medicines and Medication Safety

We are committed to safeguarding the health of our community against any adverse effects from prescribed medications. This means that people can take medicines or use health products knowing that they are safe, have been manufactured in a quality-controlled environment to our strict guidelines, and will work.

However, medications and medical devices, available via international websites, which have not been subject to Australia’s rigorous testing standards are becoming easier to access. They are not regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and we can’t confirm their quality or effectiveness.

We have received reports of people suffering adverse reactions to these products. As such, we strongly advise against purchasing inexpensive medicines on foreign websites. 

Australia has several mechanisms available to help protect our health consumers.

Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is Australia’s regulatory authority for therapeutic goods. It carries out a range of assessment and monitoring activities to ensure that therapeutic goods available in Australia meet high quality standards and will only help Australians towards positive health outcomes.

Almost any product advertising therapeutic claims must be entered in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) <link> before it can be supplied in Australia.

Therapeutic goods include prescription medicines, vaccines, sunscreens, vitamins and minerals, medical devices and blood products.

Advisory Committee on Medicines (ACM)

The Advisory Committee on Medicines (ACM) provides independent medical and scientific advice to the Minister for Health and the TGA on issues relating to the safety, quality and efficacy of medicines supplied in Australia, including pre- and post-market functions.

National Prescribing Service

NPS MedicineWise is an independent, not-for-profit and evidence-based organisation that aims to help you make and act on the best possible decision about medication and health devices.

Online medicines and medical devices

Medicines and devices sold on international websites are not regulated by the TGA. We have no way of establishing whether they are safe or effective.

We strongly advise against buying medicines online.

The TGA website has further useful information.

Page last updated on: 7 May 2019