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Drug Watchdog Launches 1st TCM Ads Inquiry System

China's top traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) regulator has launched its first national ads inquiry system on Friday.

The move came as the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SATCM) stepped up its efforts to crack down on misleading and unauthorized medical adverts by enabling people to check ads authenticity through a unified inquiry platform.

Through the link provided on the website of SATCM, users could log on the inquiry system and type in the certificate number or name of the adverts to check if it is trustworthy.

The system also listed in detail the updated information of TCM ads based on provincial division. People could obtain specific information such as the adverts number, the name of the medical institution and time of approval in a province if they type in the location.

So far, the database of the system has collected 1,188 TCM adverts, with 529 valid, 637 outdated and 22 revoked.

Local medical authorities were required to send their newly-approved medical advert and product samples to SATCM within five work days to ensure prompt update of the ads information, according to a notice posted on the regulator's website.

China's false medical ads was one of the major headaches for the state drug regulator. Illegal adverts for drugs, medical equipment and health supplements were usually found on Internet and satellite TV stations.

In 2007, the country approved 16,365 medical ads, among which 122 were recalled for illicit content, such as being false or exaggerated information or by their guarantees from celebrities and experts.

According to the amended Measures for the Examination of Drug Advertisements which took effect last May, drug supervising departments have the right to take administrative compulsive measures to ban drugs for illegal ads.

(Xinhua News Agency August 2, 2008)

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