– Baidu charged to revamp its healthcare advertisements.
– The need came after a young man who received experimental cancer treatment at a Beijing hospital was declared dead.
Baidu charged to revamp its healthcare advertisements by Chinese regulators.
Chinese regulators on Monday required a revamp of the healthcare advertisements exhibited by China’s leading search engine Baidu.
The need came after a young man who received experimental cancer treatment at a Beijing hospital was declared dead. Report has it that he found the treatment online.
Reuters in morning trade on Monday reported that Baidu’s Nasdaq-listed shares fell by more than 3 percent following the verdict of Chinese regulators.
According to reports, investigators have also discovered that the hospital unlawfully subcontracted its Departments to a profit-driven private company and circulated false medical advertisements in order to entice patients to their clinic.
China Daily reports that Wei Zexi, 21, a student from Shaanxi province, died from synovial sarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer on April 12. Since September, he had spent more than 200,000 yuan ($31,000) on a type of immunotherapy at the Second Hospital of the Beijing Armed Police Corps, which he was recommended while searching for the disease on Baidu.
Before he died, Wei accused the company online as being an evil and counseled other cancer patients not to be cheated in comments that went viral, drawing waves of criticism against the search engine.
Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of Google, is listed on the Nasdaq exchange in New York and has a market capitalization of more than $60 billion, even after its shares fell heavily in the wake of the scandal.
Monday’s verdict by the Cyberspace Administration of China stated that the company trusted extremely on profits from its paid listings in search results and did not clearly label such listings as the results of commercial promotion.
The statement stressed that the system “influenced the impartiality and objectivity of its search results, making it easy to mislead users, and must be immediately rectified.”
Baidu has been charged to employ a new form of listing system that does not rely totally on advertising price or profit but also care for the reputation of the advertiser. Its commercial content should be no more than 30 percent on each Web page, the ruling said.
Xiang Hailong, head of Baidu’s search business, said that Wei’s death has made the company reconsider its responsibility.