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PLA Uncovers Bogus Institutions Peddling Fake Drugs
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China's armed forces health department on Thursday published a list of 16 bogus military medical institutions that peddled fake drugs, in its latest attempt to crack down on drugs fraud.

"These bogus military institutions advertised fake drugs in newspapers, magazines and on websites, posing a serious threat to public health and to the image of the People's Liberation Army," according to the Health Department of the PLA General Logistics Department.

These bogus institutions include: the so-called PLA Life Sciences Genes Engineering Institute, the PLA Genetics Institute, the PLA Air Force Genes Medical Institute, the PLA Dermatology Genes Research Center, the PLA TCM Institute Dermatology Department, the PLA Medical Institute Cardiology Research Center, the PLA Life Sciences Institute Rheumatism Research Center, the PLA General Logistics Hospital Dermatology Institute, the PLA Genetic Sciences Institute, the PLA Biomedical Institute Diabetes Research Center and Cardiology Research Center, the PLA Life Medicines and Pathology Institute Diabetes Research Center, the PLA Research Center for Difficult Diseases, China Genetic Pharmaceutical Research Base Diabetes Hospital and the PLA Hongyu Pharmaceutical Factory.

Genuine military medical institutions are prohibited by law from advertising the sale of drugs.

"All drugs ads in the name of military institutions are fraudulent," the department added.

Drugs commonly sold by these bogus military medical bodies include those for the treatment of diabetes, cardiac diseases, dermatitis and sexually transmitted diseases. They prey on patients who are eager for a cure for these diseases, and tout the drugs to be effective and even "magical".

The PLA health department and State Post Bureau have jointly issued an order banning military medical institutions from setting up post boxes in order to block possible mail-order channels.

In May, seven people were arrested for forging prescriptions, seals and receipts. Drug labels purporting to have been issued by military medical institutions were also seized. In addition, fake drugs worth 150,000 yuan (US$18,750) were confiscated in the largest bust of this kind.

A medicine that fake drugs dealers claimed could cure cardiac diseases was sold for 780 yuan (US$98). Experts said the actual cost of the drug was only 10 yuan (US$1.25).

The PLA General Logistics Department uncovered 98 military medical fraud cases in 2005, and 67 so far this year.

(Xinhua News Agency July 28, 2006)

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