Medical advertisements will require the approval of provincial health departments before publication or broadcast in China, according to new rules coming into effect on Jan. 1, 2007.
"Vigorous efforts should be made to curb the spread of false and illegal medical ads to protect public health," said Ma Xiaowei, Vice-Minister of Health.
The authorities dealt with 4,644 false and illegal medical advertisements in the first nine months of 2006, accounting for around 12 percent of false and illegal advertising.
The new rules on medical advertising, jointly issued by the Ministry of Health and State Administration for Industry and Commerce, also ban mentioning technology, diagnostic methods and recovery rates.
The once common practice of using the names or images of patients, medical facilities and experts to endorse products or services is also forbidden under the new rules.
Ma said in addition to carrying out rigorous examinations before they are issued, health departments should also step up day-to-day supervision of medical advertising.
Analysts said private hospitals, the major advertisers, are likely to suffer from the new rules. Lacking established reputations, many rely on bombastic advertising to attract customers.
Source: China View