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1,200 Illegal Medical Advertising Cases Probed
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Health officials had investigated 1,200 cases of illegal medical advertising and penalized the institutions responsible by the end of April, according to the Ministry of Health.

The government had issued amended regulations on medical advertising in November in an attempt to prevent false and misleading advertising .

"By the end of April, the ministry had investigated 164 cases of illegal medical ads based on public complaints and its own surveillance network," ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an said.

"During the same period, local health departments had investigated more than 1,100 illegal ads," Mao added.

In March, 36 websites promoting bogus military medical institutions were closed down, according to the ministry.

Five medical institutions in Anhui Province were closed and the advertising licenses of nine medical institutions were revoked by the end of April.

The regulations, effective since Jan. 1, ban the depiction of medical techniques, treatment methods, patients or experts, the army and armed police and claims of certain cures.

Provincial health authorities retain the authority to approve medical advertisements, but more emphasis must be placed on vetting the texts used to market products, according to the regulation.

In the first quarter of 2007, medical departments received more than 5,000 applications for medical advertising licenses and issued 3,000 licenses.

(Xinhua News Agency July 10, 2007)

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