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Complaints over Potency Drug Ad
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A potency drug commercial on Chinese television which features businessmen bragging of how they win over female clients with the medication has come under attack on Internet forums and prompted state TV authorities to launch an investigation.


The commercial has been played on provincial satellite TV stations in Shaanxi, Shanxi and Hebei.  "The ad has crossed the bottom line of morality," said one Internet posting. "It is nothing but shameless." Another said, "I can't believe TV stations would broadcast an ad like that."


The complaints center for television commercials of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said it had received many complaints about the commercial, the Beijing Times reported. The center would report it to a higher administrative department in SARFT for investigation and possible disciplinary action, the report said.


The commercial for the drug called Shengdi Meilijian -- Holy King Charm Strong when translated literally – was normally aired in the cheaper advertising slots around midnight, said a commercial agent for several satellite TV stations named Zhou. "On Shaanxi satellite TV for example the price for midnight commercials is 550 yuan (US$69) per minute," he was quoted as saying.


Healthcare product commercials were broadcast on provincial satellite television with the approval of the local food and drug bureaus and broadcasting authorities, Zhou said. "If the content was found to be vulgar, it would be impossible to show on TV although local authorities have different standards," he said.


The drug is claimed to be a US-made product that improves kidney function and boosts potency for men. Part of its name, Meilijian, is a homophonic Chinese play on the term for the United States.


After learning of the complaints salesman at Beijing Biotech Company, agents for the product, said the "commercial was made to leave a deep impression," the newspaper reported.


Last month, the SARFT announced a ban on television and radio advertisements for weight loss, breast enlargement and other beauty products and treatments amid fears that such commercials violated consumer rights and endangered health.


In May, the authorities banned Ao Mei Ding, a breast-enlarging liquid made by Fu Hua Pharmaceutical Co. and injected into more than 300,000 women. It caused some women so much pain that they had to have their breasts removed.


(Xinhua News Agency August 29, 2006)

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