Fake A/H1N1 mask maker uncovered

08:36, November 12, 2009      

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A facemask marketed as a highly preventative measure against contracting H1N1 is a dud, the top drug authority announced yesterday.

The privately owned Tianjin Mingda Science and Technology R&D Company behind the mask has been shut down because health authorities never gave consent for the company to manufacture the masks for medical use, said State Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Yan Jiangying yesterday.

A boy wears a mask before receiving an Influenza A (H1N1) vaccine at a hospital in Taipei, Taiwan on November 9, 2009. [chinadaily.com.cn/agencies]

The invention, which made claims that any wearer would not contract the H1N1 flu, made local headlines Monday as the number of cases of the potentially lethal infection rises and vaccines are limited in the country.

"The company was making bogus claims about its product," Yan said, urging the public to be wary about fraudulent products for H1N1 flu prevention and treatment.

As of Monday, the company manufactured 8,012 masks and sold 5,000 of them for 9.5 yuan ($1.40) each, according to results from the food and drug administration's investigation.

Some pharmacies in Beijing said Tuesday they had contacted the company to place orders for the so-called "anti-swine flu protection."

"We've ordered the company to recall those already distributed on the market," Yan said.

The Ministry of Health asked the public to be alert to scams that take advantage of public fear of the disease.

Ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an clarified on Tuesday that "all qualified facial masks for medical use can help prevent germs and the infection of H1N1 flu."

Folk remedies like eating garlic and ginger are believed to help boost immunity to ward off all infections, including the H1N1 virus.

As a result, the price of garlic has risen several times over the last year, reports have said.

"But it's more of past experience and traditional habit," said He Xiong, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

"The public should practice prevention measures that are proven to be effective and recommended by health experts, like frequent hand washing and coughing into the elbows," he said.

Source: China Daily
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