ADIA Code of Practice | Australian Dental Industry Association

ADIA Code of Practice

Along with other associations in the therapeutic products sector, the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) publishes guidance for the interaction between suppliers and healthcare professionals. At the heart of the ADIA Code of Practice is that the dental industry should not undertake promotional activities which may encourage a dental professional to do other than select patient treatment options wisely; choosing suitable treatment options only when it is considered necessary and use dental products safely and effectively. 

The following information is designed to foster an understanding of the ADIA Code of Practice that has, as its fundamental pillar, an understanding that the trust which exists between the dental industry and dental profession may be seen to be compromised by inappropriate promotion which is not in the best interests of patients or consumers, and which can add to the cost of healthcare. For further information on the code please review the below.

Key Documents

The Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA), and its membership are keen to ensure that decisions on management (including treatment options) for health needs are based on sound clinical evidence, not driven by incentives or other influences. To this end, the ADIA Code of Practice was endorsed by the membership as a means of ensuring that a self-regulatory approach does not allow promotional activities to compromise the quality use of therapeutic products and to minimise cost pressures on the health system.

Download the ADIA Code of Practice - Edition 2 here plus other documents associated with therapeutic goods advertising. 

TGA - Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code
ACCC - False and misleading advertising guidance

Background To Development Of The Code

The Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) developed the framework which governs the interaction between dental product suppliers and dental professionals in response to Australian Government concerns about actual or perceived weaknesses in the arrangements for self-regulation by therapeutic industry associations.

As a result of the approach set out in the ADIA Parliamentary Engagement Strategy, underpinned by ADIA's positive relationships with key parliamentarians, the dental industry was able to negotiate an outcome where industry self-regulation was preserved, rather than an alternative where the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) may have been empowered to regulate how the dental industry promotes its products.

Underpinning Principles

The key to complying with the ADIA Code of Practice - Edition 2 is to understand its underpinning principles which can be reviewed here, along with supporting guidance.

The Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) has worked with the Australian Government to ensure that the ADIA Code of Practice upheld the intent that decisions on management (including treatment) options for health needs are based upon sound clinical evidence, not driven by incentives or other influences.

Businesses Covered By The Code

The ADIA Code of Practice applies to any ADIA member business and in addition to any business (whether or not an ADIA member) that exhibits at a trade show convened by ADIA. The latter outcome is achieved as it is a standard condition of participation at an ADIA convened exhibition.

General Principles Of The Code

The ADIA Code of Practice operates under a set of general principles that regulate the interaction of the dental industry with dental professionals. These principles are:

  • Members must at all times comply with the provisions of all relevant legislation;
  • Members must not engage in unethical behaviour, misleading or deceptive conduct, or unfair or unconscionable practices; and
  • Members must always respect the ethical requirements and codes of practice which apply to dental professionals by their professional association.

Although there is an expectation that Members will meet the general principles set out in the document this does not make the Code the definitive guidance on such matters, nor necessarily provides ADIA with compliance responsibility. By way of example, the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) clearly articulates expectations insofar as misleading or deceptive conduct, or unfair or unconscionable practices are concerned.

Quality Use Of Therapeutic Goods

The dental industry, and the therapeutic goods sector more broadly, promotes the concept of good health incorporating the quality use of therapeutic goods which is based on genuine consumer health needs and supported by the ethical conduct of all parties. The quality use of therapeutic goods means;

  • That a dental professional should choose suitable therapeutic goods only if it is considered necessary and in the patient's best interest;
  • Therapeutic goods should be used safely and effectively;
  • Diagnostic and treatment options should be selected by dental professionals wisely, based on the best available evidence and the patient's needs, free from any undue influence on the part of the dental industry; and
  • Decisions by dental professionals concerning treatment and / or diagnostic pathways are made independently of any inappropriate inducement or offer by the Dental Industry.

In practice this means businesses in the dental industry are unable to offer in connection with the ordering, purchase or supply of therapeutic products an incentive that would likely influence a healthcare professional's decisions on patient diagnostic and treatment options.

Making A Complaint

The ethical promotion of dental products is central to the trust-based framework within which dentists and oral healthcare professionals advise and treat patients and the framework for industry promotion is set out in the ADIA Code of Practice published by the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA). Although ADIA works with businesses bound by the Code with a view to helping them understand and comply with the ADIA Code of Practice, it is understood that regrettably the occasional breach may occur.

The ADIA Code of Practice, as approved by the ADIA membership, includes mechanisms for dealing with complaints about conduct by companies. Any person can make a complaint against a business that is covered by the ADIA Code of Practice and the following guidance is offered to those wishing to do so.

Guidance on making a complaint

Step 1. Verify that the business is covered by the Code:

Businesses covered by the Code are those that are ADIA members and/or those participating in an exhibition managed by ADIA.

Step 2. Determine whether the principles have been breached:

You will need to review the underpinning principles within the Code to ascertain whether the action is inconsistent with these principles as, in most instances, a general allegation of misconduct will not be progressed.

Step 3. Collect supporting evidence:

To assist the ADIA Code Complaints Committee make a determination on the matter, you will need to collect supporting evidence that supports your allegation. Such evidence may include magazine advertisements, promotional literature, and website content (if referring to website content please print copies of the material in question).

Step 4. Lodge your complaint:

You will need to write to ADIA with your complaint in a way that clearly identifies that it is a formal complaint, the business that you believe is breaching the ADIA Code of Practice, and how you believe the promotional activity is inconsistent with the principles of the Code. Download the Complaint Form here.

Guidance for advertising complaints

The Code applies to advertisements directed exclusively to dental and oral healthcare professionals.

Complaints that allege an advertisement is false or misleading should be directed to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which has responsibility for enforcing the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth).

Advertisements directed to consumers (e.g. patients and households) are regulated by the TGA Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code rather than the ADIA Code of Practice.

Once you have identified that the business is bound by the ADIA Code of Practice and that the promotional activity is likely to be inconsistent with the specific provisions in the Code, please complete the Complaint Form and be sure to include all attachments then direct your written complaint to:

ADIA Code Complaints Committee
a: GPO Box 960, Sydney, NSW, 2001
e: or

Anonymous complaints will not be considered; however, a consumer or non-industry complainant may elect, on application to the ADIA-CCC Code Complaints Committee, to have their name or identity suppressed in correspondence with the respondent, or from public release. This will not necessarily prevent the complaint's details from being released in the event of legal action.

Further Information

To keep up to date with how the ADIA Code of Practice is working to strengthen the trust that exists between the dental industry, dental professionals, and consumers, subscribe to the Twitter feed @AusDental or follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn. Alternatively, you can contact the Association via email or by telephone on 1300 943 094.

This information is available for your use under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence, with the exception of the ADIA logo, other images and where otherwise stated.

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