China’s Stricter Supervision of Medical Product Advertisements

China ’s State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) plans to set up a system recording companies’ advertising drugs, medical devices, and health foods, to better monitor and assess individual company performance. The new regulations will take effect on January 1, 2008.

In the new system, companies will be classified as “creditable,” “discreditable,” or “seriously discreditable” based on their compliance with medical advertisement regulations. Companies who have complied with advertising regulations over the past year will be classified as “creditable,” while those who have committed violations will be “discreditable.” The classification “seriously discreditable” will be applied to companies with more than five violations.”

Recently, China has upped its supervision of illegal advertisements of medical products, identifying over 30,000 illegal ads just this year. In addition, the SFDA has cited 16 ads which overstated the benefits and efficacy of their product without scientific support. Many of the 30,000 illegal ads exaggerated the benefits of their products. Serious offenders under the current regulations may lose their advertising licenses.

The SFDA is urging the country’s local food and drug oversight bodies to increase their supervision of advertisements. Previously, local food and drug administrations have worked with the SFDA in developing an online ad approval system. In addition, all approved ads are posted on the SFDA’s website for public reference.