Chinese liquor maker called out for fake ads, safety

Hu Yijing China Plus Published: 2018-04-17 15:41:08
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China's drug regulator is calling out the company behind self-proclaimed health care wine "Hongmao."

Hongmao pharmaceutical liquor. [File Photo: VCG]

Hongmao pharmaceutical liquor. [File Photo: VCG]

A statement issued by the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) on April 16, 2018, demands Hongmao Pharmaceutical explain to society how and why it has been punished by drug supervision authorities across the country for "false advertising" over the past five years.

The company is also being called on to better outline any safety risks involved with consuming the product, as well as report any reports of adverse reactions it has recorded over the past five years to both the public and CFDA.

From 2004 to 2017, the CFDA notes it has recorded 137 cases of adverse reactions to "Hongmao," including dizziness, itching, rashes, vomiting and abdominal pain, said the agency's spokesperson.

"Hongmao" was given the status of an over-the-counter (OTC) drug by the CFDA in 2003. However, a regulator spokesperson now says the CFDA is consulting with experts to help decide whether the liquor should be made to be purchased on prescription.

CFDA is also calling on the regional drug regulator in Inner Mongolia to strengthen its inspections of Hongmao Pharmaceutical.

Issues connected to "Hongmao" came to the forefront following the detention of a doctor who posted an online article in December, 2017, describing the health care wine as "poison," suggesting its producer has been exaggerating the health benefits of "Hongmao" in its advertisements.

39 year old Tan Qindong, who holds a master's degree in anesthesiology, was arrested by police in January who travelled from Liangcheng County, in Inner Mongolia, where Hongmao Pharmacutical is based, all the way south to Guangdong's Provincial capital, Guangzhou. Liangcheng police claim Tan's article caused Hongmao Pharmacutical over a million yuan in losses.

Liangcheng's public security bureau has since transferred the case to local prosecutors.

Tan Qindong's case has generated heated debate in China, with people not only questioning the medicinal value of "Hongmao," but also the perception that local officials in Inner Mongolia are abusing and overstepping their authority.

The Chinese Medical Doctor Association (CMDA) announced on Monday that it will offer legal assistance to the detained doctor.

The association is also calling for authorities to avoid criminalizing civil disputes.

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