Saturday January 18, 2020

China To Step Up Its Fight Against Health Care Irregularities

Police in northern China's Hebei province said last week that they had launched an investigation into Hualin Acid-Base Technology

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China
A man walks outside a branch of traditional Chinese medicine firm Quanjian Group in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, Dec. 27, 2018. VOA

China will step up its fight against “irregularities” in the sale of health care products after a series of scandals in the industry in recent months, state media reported Thursday, citing senior officials.

Zhang Mao, minister at the State Administration for Market Regulation, told China Central Television in an interview that the country’s health sector was “rampant with irregularities” and plans were underway to put it under greater scrutiny.

China launched a 100-day campaign at the start of the month to crack down on illegal advertising and other violations in the industry following a number of high-profile cases.

China, Vaccines
A child receives a vaccination shot at a hospital in Rongan in China’s southern Guangxi region on July 23, 2018. VOA

“Recently, serious problems involving the health products market have been exposed, such as fake promotions, illegal advertising and deceiving consumers,” the China Daily newspaper quoted Zhang as saying at the launch the campaign.

Earlier this month, police arrested the founder of Quanjian Nature Medicine Technology, a traditional Chinese medicine firm, amid allegations of fraudulent practice following the death of a 7-year-old girl who had used the company’s products as part of her cancer treatment.

Market regulators are also investigating local branches of Infinitus, a multibillion-yuan Chinese company, after it was accused of selling products that damaged a child’s heart.

USA, China, Trade War
Plastic bags of fentanyl are displayed at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection area at the International Mail Facility at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. VOA

Many of the recent investigations have focused on “multilevel marketing” schemes in which members buy products from the company and then sell them on. Though this “direct selling” is allowed in China, “pyramid selling” — which uses income generated from new members to pay off older members — has been banned.

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Police in northern China’s Hebei province said last week that they had launched an investigation into Hualin Acid-Base Technology, a local health product company accused of operating a pyramid selling scheme and misleading customers.

Last week, the Guangdong provincial government in southeastern China also summoned 32 locally registered “direct sales” firms — including Infinitus and the U.S.-based Amway — to issue a warning against malpractice. The firms agreed to sign a pledge not to deceive consumers about the therapeutic benefits of their products, according to the official Xinhua news agency. (VOA)

Next Story

New Virus Can Spread Through Human Contact: China

China: Possible That New Virus Could Spread Between Humans

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CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
Security guards stand in front of the closed Huanan wholesale seafood market, where health authorities say a man who died from a respiratory illness had purchased goods from, in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, China. VOA

The possibility that a new virus in central China could spread between humans cannot be ruled out, though the risk of transmission at the moment appears to be low, Chinese officials said Wednesday.

Forty-one people in the city of Wuhan have received a preliminary diagnosis of a novel coronavirus, a family of viruses that can cause both the common cold and more serious diseases. A 61-year-old man with severe underlying conditions died from the coronavirus on Saturday.

While preliminary investigations indicate that most of the patients had worked at or visited a particular seafood wholesale market, one woman may have contracted the virus from her husband, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a public notice.

CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
Commuters wear protection masks inside a subway train in Hong Kong, China. VOA

The commission said the husband, who fell ill first, worked at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. Meanwhile, the wife said she hasn’t had any exposure to the market.

It’s possible that the husband brought home food from the market that then infected his wife, Hong Kong health official Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a news briefing. But because the wife did not exhibit symptoms until days after her husband, it’s also possible that he infected her.

Chuang and other Hong Kong health officials spoke to reporters Wednesday following a trip to Wuhan, where mainland Chinese authorities briefed them on the outbreak.

The threat of human-to-human transmission remains low, Chuang said, as hundreds of people, including medical professionals, have been in close contact with infected individuals and have not been infected themselves.

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She echoed Wuhan authorities’ assertion that there remains no definitive evidence of human-to-human transmission.

The outbreak in Wuhan has raised the specter of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. SARS is a type of coronavirus that first struck southern China in late 2002. It then spread to more than two dozen countries, killing nearly 800 people. (VOA)