Chinese newspapers and magazines will be prohibited from accepting misleading advertising effective. 1, says the State Press and Publication Administration and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC).
The move follows a ban issued in August by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and SAIC on similarly misleading television and radio commercials.
Publications will be prohibited from accepting advertising that promotes unproven medical products. Many of the ads promote male potency, breast enlargements or magical cure-alls.
Advertisements for treatments for sexually transmitted diseases, induced abortion and malignant tumors will be strictly prohibited in the print media, according to a circular issued by the administrations.
The administrations say the misleading ads are often vulgar, offensive and seriously impair the credibility of the print media.
"Advertisements must be true and credible," says the circular announcing the ban.
China's advertising market has grown rapidly in recent years. According to the China Consumers Association, the country's advertising business was worth 141.6 billion yuan (17.7 billion U.S. dollars) in 2005, ranking the fifth in the world.
The SFDA said it monitored 250 newspapers from January to August and found that 91 percent of the 11,564 advertisements for medicines were already being illegally promoted.
Eighty four percent of newspaper ads selling medical equipment were also being illegally promoted.
In China it is illegal to advertise prescription drugs in the mass media.
Meanwhile, a survey of 40 television channels by the SFDA showed that about 72 percent of the commercials selling medicine and 80 percent of those selling medical equipment were being illegally promoted.
Misleading ads and commercials have frequently duped consumers who are increasing fed up with products that do not work. More than two-thirds of Chinese netizens responding to an on-line survey in September said they had been victimized by fake and illegal advertisements.
The respondents said ads promoting medical products, health foods and medicines were the most untrustworthy followed by those for cosmetic products.
According to the administrations, advertisements that are obscene or contain superstitious content and those teaching gambling tricks will also be strictly prohibited.
Source: China View