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New Oral Health Department Set Up
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The Ministry of Health (MOH) has set up a new oral health department to manage the country's oral disease prevention work following the recent scandal involving the National Committee of Oral Health (NCOH).

The NCOH was set up in 1988 by the MOH with a mandate to improve the nation's oral health but was disbanded in April this year after it was found to have accepted more than two million yuan (US$263,000) in illegal product endorsements over a period of about three years.

The NCOH acted independently of the MOH but the new department is under direct control of the ministry.

"There was a lack of supervision of the NCOH's work," said Qi Xiaoqiu, director of the MOH's disease control bureau.

The new department will be in charge of planning and managing the oral disease prevention and control work across the country.

It will set evaluation standards for oral health products, including toothpaste, toothbrush and chewing gum, this year, Qi said.

The other functions of the NCOH will be taken on by other professional organizations," Qi said, without commenting further on the nature of these functions or the identity of the other organizations.

The NCOH was sued last year by several lawyers who said it was not authorized to endorse oral health care products such as P&G Crest toothpaste and Lotte chewing gum.

The MOH shut down the NCOH late April and said the NCOH's accounts from 1997 to 2006 would be investigated.

(Xinhua News Agency June 14, 2007)

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