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Banned Medical Ads Still on TV
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Advertisements on some medical products have still been seen on TV, after a set of new regulations on banning them came into effect on Aug. 1.

In a joint statement by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC), television and radio advertisements for medicines, medical equipments, weight loss, breast enlargement and other beauty products and treatments are temporarily banned.

The joint statement by SARFT and SAIC said television and radio stations that fail to fulfill their obligations to cause serious results will be punished as such ads may violate consumer's rights and endanger their health.

However, a dozen of provincial TV stations still put on show such advertisements till midnight of Aug. 1, with introduction of the medical products giving no details of manufacturers or distributors.

"Such advertisements have broken the rules," said an official with the SARFT, refusing to be named.

He explained that according to the new regulations, a TV shopping program should make it clear the manufacturing and distributing companies of the medical products, and the approval on the products by the government.

He revealed that all provincial administrations under SARFT were demanded to rectify the TV stations breaking the rules, and carry out stricter checks over independently operating channels.

The SARFT will send a notice to those who broke rules, the official noted. If one television or radio receives three notices within 60 days, it will be forbidden to screen advertisement and the officials in charge will be penalized.

The official stressed that the advertisements on weight losing products in the name of "keeping fit" will also be banned.

According to some medical advertisements still on TV, people might have slim figures by taking a pair of shoes or a pair of trousers, or wash off their freckle with certain cleanser. The advertisements even claim that the cleanser could wash off the color of gold fish.

Lack of regulations and supervision has led to such advertisements that exaggerate the products' functions and mislead the consumers, said Qu Jianmin, an official in charge of advertisements with the SAIC.

In recent year, a series of incidents have occurred in China as fake drugs or inappropriate medical treatment led to injuries or even deaths.

What's worse, Qu said, some advertisements on health food for man used ambiguous pictures and words, which not only misled the consumers, but also harmed the social atmosphere.

Qu said the SAIC will speed up the amendment on relevant regulations to curb the misleading advertisements, and issue standards for advertisements on medicines.

He revealed that the SAIC will launch a nationwide check-up specially on advertisements for medicine and health care products. The campaign will combat such activities as advertising on false medicine and health care food, inviting patients, celebrities or scholars to prove the functions of medical products, or exaggerating the functions of these products.

Ren Qian, a senior official with the SARFT, said the SARFT will not only ban the advertisements on medical products, but also relevant advertisements that exaggerate the functions of the products.

He told Xinhua that the SARFT will further regulate the procedures of screening advertisements, check over the contents of the advertisements, and tighten control on TV shopping programs. 

(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2006)

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