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China Launches Campaign Against Illegal Online Drug Selling

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China's drug watchdog has launched a campaign to expose and crack down on illegal spread and selling of drugs on the Internet.

"Food and drug administration departments at all levels should explore effective methods to stop the sale of fake or inferior-quality drugs, especially those advertised and sold on the Internet," said Shao Mingli, head of the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), Tuesday at a meeting.

According to SFDA's monitoring on six major search engines including Google and Yahoo, after typing the key words of "medicine" plus a type of common disease, such as "diabetes" or "high blood pressure," 10 to 30 percent of search results contained illegal drug-related information.

Figures show that, among 196 web pages being monitored, 96 percent did not have or failed to show certificates for drug-related trades or other services. Some 39 percent have no Internet Content Provider (ICP) records in the database of telecommunication management departments.

ICP is a permit to run web sites in China.

According to the SFDA, these illegal sites usually advertise or sell drug products in the name of large hospitals or research institutes. Some even forged pages of the SFDA drug database to fool buyers that their drugs had been approved by the administration.

The campaign is part of a nationwide crackdown on the violation of intellectual property rights and the production and distribution of fake and shoddy products, which began earlier this month.

(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2010)

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