Action Speaks Louder Than Words: Turkish Regulatory Inspection of the Cosmetic Industry Q2 2021– Healthcare Series 17

Introduction

The Department of Cosmetics Inspection, which is part of the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (“TİTCK”), recently announced (“Announcement”) the Q2 results for the market surveillance and inspection of the cosmetics industry for the period between April and June 2021.

The Announcement can be found here, and the list of the unsafe products released by TİTCK can be found here (available only in Turkish).

What does the Announcement Say?

The Announcement says that the 2021 cosmetic inspections were planned to detect products that are non-compliant with the technical regulations in the market by performing risk analysis. And, that inspections were carried out primarily to detect undeclared products in the market.

As a result of the activities of the Department of Cosmetics Inspection, 83 percent of inspected products were identified as non-compliant and/or unsafe, and administrative sanctions have been applied to these products. In the same vein, it was determined that 438 of the 532 cosmetic products examined were non-compliant and five were unsafe. A total administrative fine of TRY 590,664 was levied on the related companies.

It is notable that in the Q1 inspections found 145 of the 220 cosmetic products examined were non-compliant and six were unsafe, and accordingly a total fine amounting to TRY 660,150 was issued by TİTCK. In comparison to this year’s Q1 results, the defect rate in Q2 results has risen considerably, whereas the total amount of administrative fines has fallen slightly.

TİTCK has publicly shared the list of unsafe products (“List”) which shows the name of the responsible companies, product names, serial numbers, and origins of the related products, with the aim of enhancing public health, and ensuring transparency within the industry.

The List also states the reasons for the implementation of sanctions, such as products containing ingredients in their formulation that are contrary to cosmetic legislation, and contradictions with cosmetic legislation in the product content.

Lastly, through cooperation with courts, prosecution offices, police, and other public institutions, 8072 counterfeit, illegal, or imitation perfumes were disposed of as unsafe products within the scope of Cosmetic Law No. 5324, additionally, products, whose manufacturers are unknown, were destroyed.

What Types of Inspections on Cosmetics Are Carried Out by TİTCK?

Cosmetic products are of strategic importance with regard to their direct interaction with public health as well as having a huge market size. In this regard, to improve the quality of the industry, make products more beneficial, and increase public health protection, regular market surveillance and inspection activities are carried out by TİTCK. They are as follows:

  • Market surveillance of cosmetic products in terms of sensory investigation of cosmetic products and their packaging, control of notification, information file-PIF, and responsible persons,
  • Inspection of cosmetics regarding consumer complaints, cosmetovigilance notifications,
  • Inspection of cosmetics and health-claim products related to advertisements & promotions and sales,
  • Cosmetic manufacturing facilities are subjected to Good Manufacturing Practices (“GMP”) inspections, and
  • Application-based Cosmetic GMP Certification Process.

 

What Kind of Measures Does TİTCK Take as a Consequence of Inspection Results?

As mentioned above, TİTCK and other related institutions have strong power and authority to strictly monitor the industry.

Pursuant to Article 18 of the Cosmetics Regulation (“Regulation”), TİTCK has authority and is also responsible for taking all necessary measures such as recall, withdrawal, and access restriction in the event that a cosmetic product that has been placed on the market fails to comply with the requirements of the Regulation as well as creating the possibility of serious risk to human health.

As per Article 18 of the Regulation, various administrative actions are conducted by TİTCK as a consequence of inspection results, such as:

  • ceasing and/or prohibition of supply of products to the market,
  • recall and withdrawal of the products,
  • implementation of permanent measures such as disposal of non-compliant products,
  • and lastly, as it has recently been seen with the Announcement, implementation of the administrative fine process, and announcement of non-compliant products to the public.

Additionally, as per Article 7 of the Regulation on Health Claim of Products Available with Health Claim (“Health Claim Regulation”) the following cannot be used in the promotion of cosmetic products:

  • statements or implications that a product treats or prevents, or assists in the treatment of any disease or diagnoses a physiological function,
  • statements claiming or implying that a product restores, corrects, or alters physiological functions as a result of pharmacological, immunological, or metabolic effects, and
  • statements referring to the effect of medicinal products for human use.

Pursuant to Article 12 of the Health Claim Regulation; radio and TV channels, internet sites, and all kinds of promotional media are subject to administrative fines, prevention of access, and criminal prosecution procedures.

Conclusion

By taking cosmetic products' vital importance into consideration, TİTCK maintains regular market surveillance and strict inspection activities.

Cosmetic companies and manufacturers are always required to comply with both applicable legislation and industry practices. Therefore, all products, whether they have been placed onto the market or are due to be placed onto the market, are obliged to remain compliant even from the outset.