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China tightens scrutiny over illegal online drug sale
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China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) has listed on-line drug sales as a priority target this year and strengthening crackdowns on false advertising of drug products, according to the food and drug watchdog on Thursday.

An SFDA spokesman said the authority would enhance its supervision over large and influential Internet portal sites involved in the false advertising or mailing of fake drugs to customers.

The websites, most disguised under the names of certain hospitals or medical institutions, either sold counterfeit drugs or publicized illicit content. They included false, exaggerated or misleading information regarding cures to various ailments, the spokesman pointed out.

He said the authority would trace producers of counterfeit drugs via on-line illegal adverts as clues.

The Ministry of Industry and Information last month ordered relevant Internet access service providers to enhance their management to ensure these sites would not be reconnected to the web in future, according to the SFDA.

The administration also warned the public to be alert and avoid falling victim to similar websites.

Since July, China has run an advertising campaign against illegal drug ads to tighten its supervision. The State Administration for Industry and Commerce is responsible for punishing violators and the SFDA is in charge of approving drug ads.

The country shut down 23 websites found to be carrying illegal drug adverts in its latest inspection, according to the pharmaceutical authority.

(Xinhua News Agency April 11, 2008)

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