Taobao advised to stop selling drugs

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 8, 2011
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Zhejiang provincial food and drug authorities have ordered, China's leading e-commerce platform, to stop pharmaceutical drugs being sold on the website as the company hasn't obtained relevant official certificates, according an official with the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA).

Wang Songlin, a senior SFDA official, made the remarks Friday at a news conference addressing the recent controversy centered on the Zhejiang based company entering the drug retailing businesses.

Retailers as well as third-party providers must first get approval from food and drug administrative departments in order to sell drugs on the Internet, and they must post their certificate number on the front page of their website, Wang said.

According to Wang, what Taobao has is a certificate for providing drug information over the Internet, not the one required for selling drugs.

Official figures from the SFDA show that China has 69 certified online drug trading groups, and 39 of them are allowed to sell drugs to individuals.

The order came as the government strengthens efforts to clean up fake drugs and exaggerated advertising to regulate the country's drug industry.

Also on Friday, the SFDA made public 90 typical drug-related intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement cases that involved more than 300 million yuan (46 million U.S. dollars).

These cases were uncovered during a special IPR protection campaign that started in November last year.

"We found a growing trend to lure Internet users with advertisements that exaggerated the effects of fake drugs," said Cui Enxue, deputy head of the inspection bureau under the SFDA.

"Many people violate rules to make fake drugs for low costs... and the punishment, as stipulated in the country's law, is not harsh enough to intimidate them," Cui said, adding that many buyers, on the other hand, are not cautious enough.

China's Criminal Law only provides for up to three years in prison for fake drug makers whose products did not result in serious harm to a person's health.

So far, the SFDA has also ordered the shut down of 245 illegal websites and the blocking of another 295 overseas sites for providing fake drug information.

According to Cui, the SFDA will focus on online selling of fake drugs as well as their manufacture in the upcoming crackdown.


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