The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) and PRC Ministry of Health (MOH) jointly announced on November 10 the newly revised Administrative Measures on Medical Advertisement (the “Revised Measures”), which came in effect as of January 1, 2007. The new Measures are promulgated as part of the government efforts to strengthen the oversight over the sector by providing more stringent measures of regulation.
The Revised Measures set forth for the first time the review and examination mechanism as a prerequisite for the issuance of the Medical Advertisement Examination Certificate, which is mandatory for airing a medical advertisement. The provincial health department will be in charge of such review and examination and the issuance of the certificate thereafter. The certificate will expire automatically by the end of one year and re-application is therefore required.
The Revised Measures also provide clarification on the content of medical advertisement, by specifying the permissible items that could appear on the advertisement on the one hand, and prohibiting eight specific kinds of statements to appear in medical advertisement on the other hand. According to the Revised Measures, the following contents can be included in an advertisement: the primary name of medical institution, its address, ownership status, type of the medical institution, clinical departments, number of beds, clinical time schedule, and the telephone number.
The following, however, should not be entered into an advertisement: indication of the medical technique, way of treatment, disease name or medicine; guarantee of treatment, either explicit or implied; indication of cure rate or efficacious rate; anything that is an obscenity, superstition, or absurdness; defying other medical institutions; use of the name or image of a patient, medical professional, medical research institution and its staff as well as any other social group or organization; use of the name of People’s Liberation Army or military units; any other circumstance prohibited by laws or administrative rules and regulations. Furthermore, the Revised Measures also prohibit medical advertisement in the disguised form of a news release, advertorial, or medical infomercial.
A medical advertiser should not change the content of advertisement once it is being reviewed and issued with the certificate. Any alteration will subject the medical advertiser to the sanction such as the revocation of the certificate and the suspension of any re-application for one year