Pharmaceutical companies could have sales of their
products suspended if they exaggerate the drug's function and
effects in advertising, according to a new regulation governing the
contents of drug ads.
And all advertisements for drugs that claim to boost
sexual performance would be banned from broadcast on TV or radio
between 7 AM and 10 PM under the new regulation. The contents of
these ads will also be tightly regulated.
The regulation was jointly issued by the State
Administration for Industry and Commerce and the State Food and
Drug Administration, China's drug safety watchdog, and would come
into effect on May 1.
False and misleading drug advertisements have long
plagued China's pharmaceutical industry with media bombarding
people with all kinds of "miraculous" drugs.
The State Administration for Industry and Commerce
found out that drug ads were the most untrustworthy of all ads last
The industrial and commercial authorities stopped
nearly 10,000 misleading or false drug ads in 2006, accounting for
11 percent of all the illegal ads found last year.
Pharmaceutical companies were fined 38.8 million yuan
(US$5 million) for making these ads.
Drugs like anesthetics, psychotropics, poisonous, and
radioactive drugs are strictly barred from being advertised, the
Ads that convey "implicit messages" that mislead the
public by implying particular drugs can produce certain effects,
like boosting energy, height, intelligence or spirit, would also be
And drug ads through promotions offering free samples,
free treatments or coupons are also outlawed.
Companies found violating the regulation by tampering
with ad contents already approved will be banned from advertising
for a year.
Those companies found arbitrarily "amplifying" drug
effects to mislead consumers will have their products pulled from
sale until such time they have "dispelled the negative
Pharmaceutical and advertising companies will face
fines up to a 30,000 yuan (US$3,881) and possible criminal charges
if they violate the regulation.
The regulation came after a series of measures adopted
by media and drugs supervision authorities to curb the rampant
trend of false or misleading drug ads.
The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television
last July barred radio and TV from broadcasting shopping guide
programs about drugs, medical instruments, breast augmentation
products, weight reduction and height enhancement.
(China Daily March 24,