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False medical advertising with Chinese staff uncovered in Ho Chi Minh City

False medical advertising with Chinese staff uncovered in Ho Chi Minh City

Saturday, February 03, 2024, 15:29 GMT+7
False medical advertising with Chinese staff uncovered in Ho Chi Minh City
This image shows an office room of Fruit Advertising Company Limited in District 11, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health

Health authorities in southern Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City have discovered a local firm, with a Chinese staff, which launched fabricated ads in the field of medical examination and treatment on social media to lure patients.

The Inspectorate of the municipal Department of Health on Friday announced that Fruit Advertising Company Limited, located on Ba Thang Hai Street in District 11, had been found launching untrue ads to help attract customers for medical service providers.

The discovery was made on Tuesday when health inspectors coordinated with local police and other concerned agencies inspected this company’s office.

The company was found signing an advertising contract with Dai Viet General Clinic Company Limited, also based in District 11, to launch false ads on social media, in impersonating the health department, to lure patients to use the clinic’s medical services.

Specifically, a recent post on a Facebook page introduced a ‘preferential general check-up package’ for women, at a cost of only VND199,000 (US$8.2), which was falsely said to be launched by the health department.

In fact, the package was offered by and performed at Dai Viet General Clinic Company Limited, which has had its operation license stripped for two months and has been fined VND35 million ($1,440) for the impersonation.

At the time of inspection, inspectors caught some employees of Fruit Advertising Company Limited giving consultancy to their clients in a non-signboard room but was glued with a board reading “Authorized personnel only.”   

Inspectors said Fruit Advertising Company Limited has a business registration certificate granted by the Department of Planning and Investment and is headed by Chung Yen Phuong as director.

The company has a foreign staff member, Zhuo Yong Jin, with Chinese nationality, who was shown on papers as a website design consultant for Bison Advertising Co., Ltd., headquartered in District 11. 

Fruit Advertising Company Limited has yet to provide inspectors with information about its relations with Bison Advertising Co., Ltd.

Phuong told inspectors that Fruit Advertising Company Limited provided medical advertising services for health facilities, including Dai Viet General Clinic Company Limited and Bac Giang General Clinic based in northern Bac Giang Province, in the forms of designing websites and running ads on Google and Facebook.

After an examination, the health department found that it owns 18 advertising and consulting accounts in the field of healthcare on social media.

Employees of Fruit Advertising Company Limited looked for potential customers on social media, such as Google, Facebook and Zalo, and then provided them with medical consultancy and suggested them to use medical services provided by health facilities with which the company had signed advertising contracts, inspectors said.  

The health department warned that false advertising relating to medical examination and treatment has become an increasingly complicated problem that has really challenged law enforcement agencies.

The department called on people to immediately provide the agency’s Inspectorate with any finding or doubt of untrue or illegal ads of medical services in any forms on social media.

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Vinh Tho - Thu Hien / Tuoi Tre News


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