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BEIJING (Reuters) - China, beset by food and drug safety scandals, has blacklisted dozens of websites for making false claims about traditional Chinese medicine, state media said on Wednesday.
The health scares, including the addition of melamine, used in making plastics, to milk and baby formula, have prompted many countries to close their markets to Chinese food and drugs, and Beijing is trying to restore the reputation of its exports with a quality drive.
The 74 websites, most of them targeting Chinese consumers, sell drugs for high blood pressure, diabetes and tumors. Some feature testimonials from western doctors and medical companies.
Traditional Chinese medicine is widely used in Asia and could become more integrated in western national health systems, the World Health Organization said last month.
Many of the Web sites, some featuring photos of nurses clad in white lab coats and gleaming hospitals, are still accessible and selling their "cures," despite the ban.
Only websites licensed by China State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) are authorized to sell drugs online to individuals.
"So far, only 10 websites across China have been issued with the license," Xinhua quoted Yan Jiangying, spokeswoman for the SFDA, as saying.
The state-owned Xinhua news agency pointed out on Wednesday that the sites could be shut down by the government, but had not been. China's internet police have broad powers to block or shut any sites deemed to have subversive or pornographic content.
Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Lucy Hornby