China Warns 16 Pharmaceutical Makers

Drug regulators say advertisements for companies exaggerated product benefits; warnings are part of country's crackdown amid widespread recalls.

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese drug regulators threatened Wednesday to pull the licenses of 16 pharmaceutical companies that allegedly ran advertisements exaggerating the benefits of their products.
The State Food and Drug Administration said the ads contained ''a large amount of unscientific assertion and pledges on the products' benefits and effects,'' the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Customers have been misled and laws were broken, Xinhua cited the administration as saying in a statement.
Among the alleged exaggerations was a claim by Tonghua Shenlong Pharmaceutical Co. that its Naoxintong medication could ''produce an instant effect on a patient who has suffered heart disease for seven or eight years,'' Xinhua said.
The administration has ordered its local branches to ensure the companies remove the offending ads, it said.
China seeks to crack down on violations by medication-producing companies amid a sweeping campaign to boost product quality. The step follows revelations of chemical-tainted, impure or spoiled products ranging from toys to toothpaste that have dealt a serious blow to the reputation of Chinese exports.
China is raising quality requirements for licensing new medicines and has ordered a review of 170,000 drug production licenses granted during the tenure of a former SFDA director who was executed in July on charges that he took bribes to approve untested medications.