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Crackdown on Illegal Drug Ads Continues
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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 distributors.

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)

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