Special: Battle Against Novel Coronavirus
China will target violations related to COVID-19, medical insurance fraud and livestreaming sales that involve health workers during the latest crackdown on irregular practices in the healthcare sector, according to a notice released by authorities on Tuesday.
The document came as China is at a crucial moment in balancing COVID-19 disease control measures and socioeconomic development, and is striving to improve the overall health of its people, said the National Health Commission, which published the notice with eight other government departments.
“Virus prevention and control efforts remain the top priority of the country’s health system this year,” the commission said, adding that strengthened efforts will be devoted to ensuring the quality of anti-virus materials and cracking down on illegal activities.
According to the notice, the country will impose tougher punishments on those found to manufacture substandard protective equipment or medications. At the same time it will accelerate emergency approvals for COVID-19 products while guaranteeing their quality.
Those who conceal their travel history, fabricate and spread false information or ignore quarantine requirements will also receive harsher penalties, it added.
Authorities plan to continue to crack down on medical insurance fraud.
Typical cases in recent years include tampering with the genome sequencing results of cancer patients, forging medical records for orthopedic implants and defrauding insurance funds by faking dialysis treatment records.
With livestreaming gaining in popularity, the document also noted that medical staff should not take advantage of their professions to participate in e-commerce and violators will be heavily investigated.
In recent years, an increasing number of doctors have appeared in television programs or opened personal social media accounts to advance health awareness.
However, some contentious activities, such as livestreaming procedures or doctors selling products online, have also emerged.
According to a report released in 2020 by Newrank.cn, a data analysis and information technology company, about 30 percent of doctors who had registered with major short-video platforms in China had livestreamed before, and about 15 percent of them had attempted to sell products.
Deng Liqiang, a member of the China Health Law Society, said during an earlier interview with Legal Daily that doctors should be encouraged to spread knowledge via new media platforms, but their actions online should also abide by medical regulations.