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Stricter measures for medical advertisements

On 10 November 2006, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) jointly promulgated the Measures for the Administration of Medical Advertisements 醫療廣告管理辦法, thereby revising 1993 regulations with the same title. Effective 1 January 2007, the Measures require that all direct and indirect advertisements for medical institutions or medical services (medical advertisements) contain only stringently controlled data and first go through government examination and approval.

Examination and approval
Under the Measures, all medical advertisements must be submitted to the provincial-level health administration bureau or the State Administration for Traditional Chinese Medicine for approval. The application packet must include the registration form, a photocopy of the institution’s business license (including the MOH’s seal) and a sample version of the medical advertisement. In the case of broadcast advertisements, a script and sample stills or photographs are acceptable. Upon approval, the advertisement will be given a Medical Advertisement Examination Certificate (Certificate), valid for one year. The advertisements published by a medical institution must follow the content of the provided samples and only appear in the media as approved in the Certificate. If the advertisement is to be published outdoors, the advertisement must also be registered per the Regulations for the Administration of the Registration of Outdoor Advertisements.

Mandatory and prohibited contents
The content allowed in medical advertisements is restricted to the following information on the medical organisation:

its first name;

its address;

its type of ownership;

its classification and specialisation;

the number of beds it has;

its contact telephone number; and

its consultation hours.
The first five items must be identical to the contents approved by the health administration bureau in the practising license of the medical organisation. Medical advertisements may not include:

the treatments, disease names or drugs involved;

guarantee or covert guarantee of success of the treatment;

the cure rates, effectiveness, and other result-related data;

the names or images of patients, health technicians, medical schools or research institutes or their staff or of other groups or organisations;

unfounded, superstitious or obscene contents;

denigration of others;

the use of the name of the People’s Liberation Army or armed police; or

any other information banned by laws and regulations.
Advertisements may not be published to look like a news release, medical information program or column, or announcement. Any report published about a medical organisation or an interview with a person of a medical
organisation may only include the organisation’s name and no other information and advertisements for the organisation may not appear on the same page or in the same program time as the report.

Failure to abide by the Measures by publishing unapproved or altered advertisements can result in fines from the SAIC, a moratorium on advertisements for a specified period, suspension of the Medical Advertisement Examination Certificate or revocation of the organisation’s practising license.


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