Taiwan bans entertainers from endorsing medical advertisements

The Ministry of Health and Welfare said Friday it has revised a law to ban entertainers from endorsing advertisements for medical care, with effect from Sept. 27.

As of Sept. 27, such advertisements are now banned from showing entertainers' images, as well as before and after photos of patients who have undergone surgery or treatment, according to the ministry.

The amended law does not apply to celebrities such as TV pundits or those who have established a following online.

The businesses are also prohibited from engaging in sales promotion activities, such as promoting discounts, group sales, coupons, prepaid plans, and free treatments and injections, the ministry said.

Exaggerated phrases such as "the country's first," "the best," "completely cures," "once and for all" and "never relapse" are also banned from being used in advertisements.

Article 86 of the Medical Care Act currently stipulates that advertisements for medical care should not be publicized by "any other improper means." Health experts added the above regulations in order to better define "improper means."

Shih Chung-liang (???), director of the Department of Medical Affairs, said Friday that many hospitals and clinics have asked entertainers to endorse their services.

Those advertisements, however, can be misleading because many of the people in show business are already beautiful, for example, and did not necessarily become more beautiful because of cosmetic surgery, Shih said.

Shih said he will ask health authorities to step up inspections of such advertisements, especially at metro and railway stations, on large billboards on the streets and near schools.

Medical institutions that violate the new regulations can be fined between NT$50,000 (US$1,595) and NT$250,000, he said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel