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Possible Fake Drug Ads Under Scrutiny
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 adverts throughout the country this year, officials said.

According to the SAIC statistics with the SAIC, fake adverts, especially misleading ones for medicine were listed as one of the top 10 complaints by consumers in 2001.

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

Li noted that separate efforts had proved "somewhat powerless" before the many illegal drug adverts, 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 to deceive customers.

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

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

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

(China Daily May 13, 2002)

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