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Illegal Medical Ads to Be Cleared up

Following consumer complaints of false advertisements for medicine, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) and the State Drug Administration (SDA) will give priority to the inspection of medicine advertisement throughout the country this year.

Statistics from the SAIC show that fake advertisements, especially misleading ones for medicine, were listed as one of the top 10 complaints by consumers in 2001, according to Monday's China Daily.

The two departments need to work more closely to fight against "increasing illegal medicine advertisements," Li Qin, director with the Market Administration Department of the SDA, was quoted as commenting on a recent survey of medical advertisements by the SAIC.

Li said that separate efforts had proved "somewhat powerless" before the many illegal drug advertisements, which were mostly "untruthful and exaggerated."

The survey, covering more than a dozen TV and radio guides nationwide, said 88.59 percent of ads for drugs and medical services were illegal as they were using untruthful words, according to the newspaper.

The SDA is in charge of examining and approving medicine ads before publication while the SAIC takes the responsibility for inspecting the ads in the media and punishing illegal advertisers, Li said.

Original versions of many drug ads sent to the SDA for approval differed widely from the final version that appeared in the media, said Li.

Such exaggerated drug ads accounted for at least 60 percent of the total number of illegal ones, Li said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 13, 2002)

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