1,300 ar­rested in fake-medicine crack­down

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - BY XU WEI xuwei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

More than 1,300 peo­ple na­tion­wide have been de­tained on sus­pi­cion of mak­ing and sell­ing fake medicine, and po­lice have closed more than 140 web­sites and online phar­ma­cies since late July, au­thor­i­ties said.

A cam­paign against il­le­gal drug pro­duc­tion and sales led to the seizure of 300 mil­lion pills and 9 met­ric tons of fake-medicine in­gre­di­ents worth a com­bined 2.2 bil­lion yuan ($362 mil­lion), the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity said on Satur­day.

The min­istry, which co­or­di­nated po­lice in 29 pro­vin­cial ar­eas, car­ried out three raids in Au­gust, Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber and snared more than 400 groups.

As part of the cam­paign, po­lice in Henan prov­ince broke up a ring al­leged to have placed fake-drug ads on the ra­dio and the In­ter­net and used phony med­i­cal ex­perts to talk with pa­tients.

More than 40 sus­pects were de­tained and more than 21 mil­lion pills con­fis­cated.

Online drug sales to­taled 1.6 bil­lion yuan last year in China, al­most four times the fig­ure for 2011, said Yin Ning, deputy di­rec­tor of the China Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Only 101 web­sites have been cer­ti­fied to pro­vide ser­vices for online drug trans­ac­tions and in­for­ma­tion.

Yin said the boom­ing online shop­ping mar­ket pro­vided an open­ing for fake-medicine dis­tri­bu­tion.

“Online chan­nels have more va­ri­ety and make it harder for con­sumers to trace the prod­ucts,” he said in Au­gust.

The Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity said on Satur­day that il­le­gal- drug sell­ers are try­ing to pitch their prod­ucts on the Web, us­ing search en­gines and drug and health­care web­sites. Some have even opened online stores or pose as pro­fes­sional med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions, sales agents or dis­tri­bu­tion out­lets for drug producers.

Most of the fake medicine seized had been made by mix­ing starch or de­te­ri­o­rated drug ma­te­ri­als with in­gre­di­ents such as tran­quil­iz­ers and hal­lu­cino­genic drugs, the use of which is a health hazard, au­thor­i­ties said.

Chai Yuet­ing, a pro­fes­sor of e-com­merce at Ts­inghua Univer­sity, said the el­derly are the most vul­ner­a­ble to online drug fraud.

“Most con­sumers who pur­chase medicine online are ur­ban res­i­dents, es­pe­cially re­tirees, and they tend to buy medicine for chronic dis­eases such as hy­per­ten­sion and di­a­betes,” he said. “They yearn for cures, and that leaves them vul­ner­a­ble to false ad­ver­tis­ing and il­le­gal drugs.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.