The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), China's drug
watchdog, has warned the public against buying pharmaceutical
products from illegal online drugstores.
Those websites operators who do not obtain proper licenses from
the drug administration are illegal and will be held to account,
said Yan Jiangying, spokeswoman of the SFDA at a press conference
in Beijing on Wednesday.
The administration grants two kinds of licenses, one to websites
providing solely information on drugs, the other to those trading
By the end of July this year, 1,211 websites had received
licenses on providing information on drugs and only nine had been
licensed to sell drugs or act as brokers, according to the SFDA. Of
the nine, only four are allowed to sell drugs "over the counter"
and the remaining five act as brokers between sellers and
"Every website is required to display its license at the top of
its website so that consumers can check and validate the license
number with the list on the SFDA official website," Yan said.
"The administration will work with the Ministry of Information
Industry to crack down on illegal drug websites. We also expect
more citizens to tip us off if they find such websites," she
As online shopping becomes more and more popular, more online
drugstores have emerged, some claiming to sell imported drugs at
lower prices and even selling banned drugs like anesthetics.
The drug administration in Shanghai has set up a special team to
monitor the drug business on the Internet.
It is convenient to buy drugs online, especially for some
patients who want to protect their privacy, but it is hard to
guarantee the quality and safety of drugs if the websites are not
registered by the authority and evade our monitoring, said an
official from the administration.
"For some illegal drug websites, all they need to start up
business are a computer and a telephone. You don't know where their
drugs come from. They not only threaten the health of consumers but
also harm legal drugstores like us," said Yi Hui, deputy
manager-general of Shanghai Pharmacy Ltd. which runs a legal online
(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2007)