the Administrative Sector of the State Administration for Market Regulation中文版
Joint Rectification of the Disorder in the Health Product Market: the 100-Day Campaign Has Been Halfly Done
Updated:2019-02-28
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        At the end of last year, Quanjian Health Products Co., Ltd. was suspected of pyramid schemes and false advertisements, which caused the whole society to pay attention to the health product market. Since January 8 this year, 13 departments including the State Administration of Market Regulation have carried out a 100-day campaign to jointly rectify the health product market in the country. What is the effectiveness of the campaign? What is the status of the health product market? What do consumers think? Our reporter conducted an interview to answer these questions.
  
        Not to kill, but to clean
  
  The 100-Day campaign has been halfly done and many violations have been investigated and punished.
  
  The State Administration of Markets Regulation has announced that as of February 15, the country has dispatched 546,000 law enforcement personnel to supervise and inspect key industries, key areas, and key commodities, including 165,000 stores selling health products. The campaign carried out administrative guidance and administrative interviews of 13,000 times, carried out 28,000 publicity activities, recovered economic losses of 33.59 million yuan for consumers, cleared 2,309 false information, destroyed 158 places manufacturing or selling fake health products, and submitted 74 fillings to judicial organs. Since July 2017, the State Council's Food Safety Office has led the nine departments to carry out a campaign to rectify health food fraud and false advertising. As of the beginning of 2019, the market regulation departments at all levels has filed 58,000 cases, with a value of 3.32 billion yuan and a fine of 490 million yuan.
  
  Multiple departments need to work together to clean the health product market. Since the starting of the 100-day campaign, the General Administration of Customs has sorted out 140,000 imported food and health food registration labels and abolished nearly 5,000 suspected false advertising labels. The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television issued a total of more than 200 rectification notices to the relevant provincial bureaus, and investigated and punished more than 120 radio and tv channels and more than 600 illegal advertisements. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's two-level telecommunications authorities have handled 138 illegal websites. The commercial department tracked the operation and management of the direct sales enterprises of health foods through the direct marketing industry management information system, and interviewed the direct selling enterprises with the General Administration of Market Regulate to detect and punish abnormal business operations in a timely manner.
  
  Cleaning up the health product market is not about letting the whole market disappear.
  
  Mr. Liu Xuecong, secretary-general of the China Nutrition and Health Food Association, said that the attitudes of the society for health care products are mixed. He stressed that, “We must understand health products have their specific market needs and rationality, though the current market does have chaos.” He noted that, the quality of health foods has become more stable after nearly 20 years of development, with an annual pass rate of sampling reaching above 97%.
  
  Liu Xuecong believes that consumers should be highly vigilant for health care products that exaggerate their efficacy and have high prices. The regulatory authorities should also ban them in time. In the case of compliance promotion and regular sales, health products should be allowed to develop, and consumers should not be too nervous.
  
  The regulatory agencies should be decisive to put an end to the chaos
  
  How to find out the health products with exaggerated and fake functional claims? According to the person in charge of the General Administration of Market Regulation, there are two main forms of health product fraud:
  
  The first is to make false publicity and defraud consumers of money by free lectures or by inducing them to buy shares. There is a health product fraud case filed in the Yuncheng City of Shanxi Province announced in the 100-day campaign. The victims and their friends often went to the “Happiness Paradise” store at the entrance of the Gongyuan Tianxia Community to attend health lectures, because they could get free eggs by doing so. They were defrauded by two men a total of 9460 yuan for paying 3,980 yuan for the "new starting point · green multi-dimensional capsule" health care products, which can be exchanged for 3 new boxes with empty boxes, and for investing 4,000 yuan to buy shares. An investigation found that the suspects Wang xxxxliang, Wu xxxwei and others operated two "happiness paradise" stores from June to September 2018 in the Huasheng Aluminum Community and the Gongyuan Tianxia Community of the Yongsheng City. They induced the elderly to attend their health lectures by giving them free eggs. They have defrauded consumers more than 1 million yuan by selling fake health products, falsely publicize their functional claims, and persuading others to buy shares.
  
  The second is to create a membership system through pyramid schemes. Songling Biotechnology Co., Ltd. in Hebei Province has been investigated and punished recently for false publicity and multi-level marketing. The company falsely publicized their products and misled consumers by claiming that its main product Yixuetong can “dissolve fat, clean toxins, activate nerves, open microcirculation, activate ear nerves, increase brain oxygen supply, prevent thrombosis, and activate nerves and cells”. It used a high-reward system to entice members to re-develop other people to join, and ultimately form a pyramid-like networked MLM layout. The MLM organization registered a total of 20,538 member numbers, and the member's successful payment amount exceeded 100 million yuan until this company was investigated and punished by market regulation and management agencies.
  
  The regulatory authorities should be decisive to clean the health product market.
  
  An anonymous person in charge of the General Administration of Market Regulation said that the authority would put warning messages-for example, "health food does not have disease prevention and treatment functions" or “health food is not a substitute for drugs” on the obvious places of health product packages, like those on tobacco packages.
  
  The General Administration of Market Regulation emphasized that food safety regulation would take strictness as a priority and disorders as a main target. In terms of punishment, the cost of illegal activities will be increased through huge fines, punishment based on multiple crimes and joint punishment. In terms of regulation, the authority will improve the risk classification and classification management system and mechanism, strengthen the innovation of supervision methods, and enhance the ability of grassroots regulation.
  
  Careful and rational purchase of health products
  
  How do consumers buy health products in the future?
  
  First, check labels. When purchasing health food, check whether there is a health food mark and health food approval number on the health food package; whether the name of the manufacturer and its production license number are indicated; and make sure the production license number is legal and can be found on the website of the provincial competent department where the enterprise is located.
  
  Second, purchase health products from a formal channel. 5 of the 12 consumers interviewed by the reporter said they would choose to purchase health products at regular pharmacies, and 7 said they would choose online shopping. Of the 7 consumers, 3 said they would only buy health products at the officially authorized Tmall International or official flagship store. The other 4 did not care. The cheap price and good comments were the criteria for their purchase of health products.
  
  The reporter interviewed a pharmacy in Beijing, and the sales staff said that the most popular types of health products sold in the store were mainly for the elderly and children. "This is melatonin, which is mainly used for sleep aid. It is imported directly from the United States. It has been selling very hot recently," said salesman Xiaoge. She believes that the health food in the pharmacy is still "reliable", the varieties are mainly concentrated in various vitamin supplements, deep-sea fish oil, etc., and there are few health products with exaggerated functional claims. One of the important reasons is that the supervision of pharmacies by relevant regulatory agencies has become normal.
  
  In addition, experts reminded that consumers should have a clear understanding of the positioning and effects of health products.
  
  In an interview with reporters, Liu Xuecong said that health products can neither replace medicines nor be used as food. A consumer must purchase health products cautiously, scientifically and rationally. On the one hand, we must have a rational understanding of the effects of health products-they do not have a healing effect and cannot use it as a medicine. On the other hand, we can't take health products as food which can be taken in a very large amount. Instead, we should strictly follow the usage and dosage. It is recommended to choose appropriate heath products under the guidance of a doctor.