International

China blacklists fake medicine websites
Greg Baker/AP

Facing Declining Exports, China Gets Tough on Quality

December 12, 2008 07:31 AM
by Emily Coakley
Following scandals involving tainted exports and a decline in foreign demand, China has cracked down on Web sites that allegedly sell fake medicine or cures.

Targeted Sites Could Be Shut Down

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Chinese consumers have been warned about buying products or services from dozens of Web sites the government there accuses of selling fake Chinese herbal medicine, reported the state-run news service Xinhua.

The sites, which claim that the drugs they sell can cure diabetes, tumors, and high blood pressure, could be shut down. China’s State Food and Drug Administration has given only 10 Web sites licenses to sell over-the-counter drugs, Xinhua said. The State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine has blacklisted all other sites.

Recent scandals involving dairy products and infant formula, “have prompted many countries to close their markets to Chinese food and drugs, and Beijing is trying to restore the reputation of its exports with a quality drive,” Reuters reported.
Last year, China had problems with tainted pet food and toys made with lead.

The crackdown in China comes on the heels of a steep drop in the country’s exports: November exports fell 2.2 percent more than November 2007 exports, the worst drop in nearly a decade, according to The New York Times.

“Even at a time of increasingly dour economic news, the Chinese trade numbers stunned many economists,” the Times said.

Related Topic: FDA targets unapproved drugs

China isn’t the only country that’s concerned about dubious medicines in the marketplace. Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told a few manufacturers to take certain prescription medications that lacked FDA approval off the market. An Associated Press analysis also found that federal health care programs have spent $200 million on unapproved prescription drugs during the course of three years.

Reference: Alternative medicine

To learn more about the different types of alternative medicine, including traditional Chinese medicine, read the findingDulcinea Web Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
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