Beijing: China’s traditional medicine watchdog has issued a blacklist of 74 Beijing-based websites suspected of selling fake herbal medicines online and warned consumers not to buy their products.
“During the past year, following reports from citizens and investigations by our administration, we have discovered a lot of websites selling fake herbal medicines,” the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicines said.
“In order to safeguard the health interests of the people and protect the image of traditional Chinese medicine... we are publicising the names of the websites,” the administration said in a statement on its website.
Among the websites selling fake herbal concoctions were organisations claiming to be affiliated with real institutes such as the China Research Centre for Chinese Medicine, it said.
The websites sold a range of drugs claiming to treat ailments such as high blood pressure, skin diseases, diabetes and tumours, press reports said.
Most of the listed websites appeared to have been shut down on Thursday.
The state Chinese medicine administration said all traditional Chinese medicine sellers needed licences to sell such drugs online.
So far only 10 companies have been licensed by the administration to sell over-the-counter traditional Chinese medicines on the Internet, it added.
Herbal medicine is a huge industry in China with sales in the first 11 months of 2007 totalling 118 billion yuan ($17.1 billion), according to the Hong Kong-based consulting firm China Commodity Marketplace.
Up to one billion dollars in sales were overseas sales, it said.