Coun­ter­feit­ers of pop­u­lar TCM rem­edy de­tained

China Daily (Canada) - - ANALYSIS - By ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai zhouwent­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

36 peo­ple caught by Shang­hai po­lice for pro­duc­ing, sell­ing fake

Shang­hai’s food and drug watch­dog and the mu­nic­i­pal po­lice re­cently cracked a ma­jor case of pro­duc­ing and sell­ing coun­ter­feit ejiao, a ge­latin made of don­key hides, while falsely us­ing a fa­mous brand name.

Al­to­gether 36 sus­pects from Shang­hai and the prov­inces of He­nan and Guang­dong were de­tained in the case, and more than 8,000 boot­leg prod­ucts worth 40 mil­lion yuan ($6.3 mil­lion) were con­fis­cated.

The coun­ter­feit goods were fakes of those made by Shan­dong prov­ince-based Dong’e Ejiao Co, the coun­try’s top maker of a sig­na­ture tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine prod­uct. They were ac­tu­ally made with ox hide and ed­i­ble ge­latin. Of­fi­cial tests showed that the bo­gus goods did not pose a health risk to hu­mans.

The Shang­hai Mu­nic­i­pal Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion re­ceived an alert from Dong’e Ejiao early last year that some shops in Shang­hai were sus­pected of sell­ing fake Dong’e prod­ucts. The ad­min­is­tra­tion soon ini­ti­ated a spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion team in tan­dem with po­lice.

The team pur­chased prod­ucts from the shops and found that they did not con­tain don­key hides and were thus deemed to be fakes.

The team also found that the sus­pects, led by a man sur­named Shi, had been in­volved in the il­le­gal pro­duc­tion in two res­i­den­tial houses in ru­ral Jiaozuo city, He­nan, since Au­gust. They made the coun­ter­feits us­ing ox hides and ed­i­ble ge­latin with fake la­bels and pack­ag­ing sup­plied from Guang­dong prov­ince.

On Dec 7, po­lice raided the il­le­gal pro­duc­tion sites in He­nan and Guang­dong and a site where prod­ucts were stored, and de­tained the sus­pects.

“Most of those caught in Shang­hai were whole­salers of the prod­ucts. They were mainly from neigh­bor­ing Zhe­jiang prov­ince and sold the coun­ter­feit prod­ucts at prices no­tice­ably lower than the gen­uine ones to health prod­uct stores and TCM hospi­tals,” said An Ti, a mem­ber of a task force in Alibaba Group’s plat­form gov­er­nance de­part­ment, which as­sisted in the case in­ves­ti­ga­tion with big-data tech­nol­ogy.

Thirty-three sus­pects, in­clud­ing Shi, were held for crim­i­nal de­ten­tion by po­lice on sus­pi­cion of pro­duc­ing and sell­ing fake drugs and il­le­gally man­u­fac­tur­ing lo­gos of reg­is­tered trade­marks. Among them, 12 have been au­tho­rized for ar­rest by the pros­e­cut­ing agency.

Gao Xuemin, a pro­fes­sor at the phar­macy de­part­ment of Bei­jing Univer­sity of Chi­nese Medicine, said ejiao, which was dubbed a “holy medicine” long ago by tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine ex­pert Li Shizhen (1518-93), first gained pop­u­lar­ity in the im­pe­rial fam­ily and later be­came known to the gen­eral pub­lic.

It is made by soak­ing and stew­ing don­key hides and re­fin­ing the re­sults into a tonic to treat health prob­lems such as ane­mia and menopause­ail­ments.

There are cur­rently more than 200 com­pa­nies spe­cial­iz­ing in ejiao pro­duc­tion in the coun­try and the mar­ket has grown from 6.4 bil­lion yuan in 2008 to 34.2 bil­lion yuan in 2016, ac­cord­ing to Bei­jing-based Prospec­tive In­dus­try Re­search In­sti­tute.

Busi­nesses have also made ejiao in new forms that are closer to snacks to cater to mod­ern con­sumers’ ris­ing in­ter­est in health and wellness.

LIU ZHONGJUN / CHINA NEWS SER­VICE

Peo­ple line up to ad­mire the Le­shan Gi­ant Bud­dha statue in Sichuan prov­ince on Tues­day. Vis­i­tors must wait in line four hours to get a chance to see the statue up close. The scenic area where the statue is lo­cated re­ceived 42,471 vis­i­tors on the day.

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