The Ministry of Health on Monday issued a circular, urging
health departments to cooperate with advertising watchdogs in
cracking down on illegal medical commercials that advertise
treatment for STDs, AIDS, cancer and other major diseases.
"The advertising of treatments for STDs AIDS, cancer, epilepsy,
hepatitis-B, vitiligo and lupus erythematosus is not allowed,"
according to the circular.
The document demands that health administrative departments at
all levels step surveillance over such advertising and cooperate
with advertising watchdogs in dealing with commercial
The circular also requires health departments to report such
advertising to local administrations for industry and commerce
within three days of their discovery.
China's advertising watchdog, the General Administration for
Industry and Commerce also issued a circular asking for enhanced
supervision over illegal medical ads.
China issued a circular in January 2003 to ban commercials that
advertise the treatment of STDs, but ads on treatments for syphilis
and gonorrhea can still be found posted on walls or street lamps in
small cities and the countryside.
Many people, fearing infection and seeking low-cost treatment,
are often more willing to consult private and usually unlicensed
doctors, a practice that has spelt a boom for underground clinics
in towns and small cities where supervision is lax.
(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2006)