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December 18, 2012

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Sales of 'magic' health devices pay fine

THE ''magic therapeutic devices,'' which looked like small radios, were being sold to seniors for 40,000 yuan (US$6,411) each as a high-tech treatment for such chronic conditions as diabetes, insomnia and high blood pressure.

Now the company, Shanghai Kezhihao Medical Treatment Equipment Co Ltd, has been fined 200,000 yuan for sales of the useless devices by using false advertising, the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said yesterday.

The Kezhihao company, which says it is the subsidiary of a large Japanese company, is licensed, has many outlets in Shanghai, and is still operating.

The fine of 200,000 yuan is the highest of its kind based on the law on unfair competition.

Higher fines would curb such cases more effectively, said Zhong Min, deputy director of the bureau. The bureau launched a campaign in late October, busting a number of outfits selling useless tonics and bogus medical apparatuses to seniors, enticed with free health checks and free trials.

Two men were being investigated for promoting so-called healthcare underwear, fitted sheets and massage chairs in two separate cases, exaggerating their beneficial effects for blood circulation and preventing and treating cancer and paralysis. They gave free health lessons to the elderly and distributed brochures.

In another case, the Shanghai Sangang Biopharmaceutical Co Ltd was found to have promoted useless tonics to seniors by organizing free tours. The case is still under investigation.

A survey conducted by the country's consumer rights watchdog found nearly 30 percent of seniors were lured to attend so-called free health seminars. Of these, more than 60 percent bought tonics or medical apparatuses recommended at the event. However, over half later felt cheated.


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