Dr. Rath Health Foundation

Dr. Rath Health Foundation

Responsibility for a healthy world Dr. Rath Research Institute 100+ Studies Published In PubMed

Roche investigated for creating rumours of a deadly virus and then advertising a drug cure

A Swiss-based pharmaceutical company is being investigated for allegedly spreading rumours in connection with a mysterious virus in China. The illness that swept the southern Chinese province of Guangdong has killed five people, and put three hundred others in hospital.

Chinese state media said, the drug company Roche told a news conference, the virus was a potentially deadly bird flu.

It's also alleged that Roche said an antibiotic drug it created, called Da-fei, was effective in treating the sickness.

Roche not only exaggerated its drug's effectiveness but violated Chinese law, state media charged.

Sales of the drug is said to have more than doubled after the news briefing, which caused panic as the news spread via SMS.

The Beijing Youth Daily claimed pharmaceutical companies are "forbidden from holding news conferences or promotional meetings to introduce prescription drugs."

Meanwhile, two companies that illegally raised the price of their products since the outbreak of the virus scare have been fined 200,000 yuan (US$24,000) each, while another firm has been ordered to halt business for a week, the China Daily reported.

In all, more than 150 companies and stores that illegally raised the price of traditional Chinese herbal mixes and vinegar used to disinfect homes, have been told to pay back the extra money they charged.

Fears of an epidemic caused panic buying, which spread from medical supplies and vinegar-based disinfectants to the hoarding of salt and vegetable oil.

About 80 percent of the province's 305 pneumonia patients have now left hospital, said Huang Qingdao, director of the Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Public Health.

He added that no new cases had been reported since last week.