Chinese drug regulators threatened Wednesday to pull the licenses of 16 pharmaceutical companies that allegedly ran advertisements exaggerating the benefits of their products, reports AP (see “China’s FDA Cracks Down on Misleading Drug Ads“).

The State Food and Drug Administration said the ads contained “a large amount of unscientific assertion and pledges on the products’ benefits and effects,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Local branches of China’s FDA were to ensure the companies remove the offending ads (my emphasis).

First of all, I didn’t even know China ALLOWED advertising of drugs — I guess this refers to ads for health professionals.

Wow! When was the last time you heard the FDA threaten to revoke a drug company’s license to market a product if it did not remove offending ads?

It appears that the Chinese FDA is ordering the “removal” of ads currently running.

Even if the US FDA did issue such threats, they would be empty threats, since it acts only well after the barn door has closed (see “Another Award for Rozerem! This one…not so good.“).

I agree with a comment made on this issue over at Pharmalot:

“I recommend that the Chinese FDA take over for the US FDA and pharmaceutical industry…..minus the Communism….:-)”

Of course, that won’t happen. But the Chinese are having an effect on the FDA.

Just recently, the President’s Interagency Working Group on Import Safety recommended that the FDA be given power to recall toothpaste and pet food if they pose a safety concern to Americans and their pets (read the Prez’ speech here).

No mention, however, was made of giving the FDA more power to recall drugs. That slack may be taken up by Congress. Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Tom Allen, D-Maine, and Senator Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. introduced a bill that would give FDA power to essentially “de-license” OTC drugs (see “Increased FDA Authority Over OTCs Sought in Waxman Bill“).