The Ministry of Health issued Circular No. 38 (2008) Regarding the Strengthening of the Administration of Medical Advertisements on July 17, 2008. The Circular is a follow-up to the Ministry of Health’s Measures for the Administration of Medical Advertisements (the Measures), which was promulgated on January 1, 2007. The Circular sets forth several objectives to further effectuate the Measures.

Health departments at all provincial and regional levels are instructed to improve public awareness and education about the importance and content of the Measures. The departments will try to strengthen the public’s awareness of illegal medical advertisements.

The uniform inspection and licensing procedures stipulated in the Measures require strict adherence. Departments should not over-reach their approval authority or allow sub-standard advertisements to pass inspection.

Health departments will gradually develop their media monitoring systems, with a focus on the Internet, television, tabloids, and other magazines where medical advertisements appear in high frequency. Public reporting hotlines and e-mail boxes will be established for people to report illicit medical advertisements.

The Circular encourages more diligent investigations and calls for the punishment of businesses behind illegal medical advertisements. In accordance with the Measures, the authorities may cease a business’ operations or revoke its medical practice license if the business has already been twice warned of conducting illegal medical advertisements, or if anyone is harmed or suffers property loss as a result of that business’ illegal advertisements.