Chinese healthcare products maker Quanjian under investigation over girl’s death in 2015

  • Company accused of making false marketing claims about product that four-year-old cancer patient drank
  • Case is of ‘great importance’ to Communist Party committee and municipal government in firm’s northeastern base of Tianjin
PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 December, 2018, 2:54am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 December, 2018, 10:18pm

A Chinese healthcare products maker is under investigation over allegations of false marketing tied to the death three years ago of a four-year-old girl who used the company’s cancer treatment, authorities confirmed on Thursday.

The information office of the Tianjin municipal government said in a statement that a team of investigators is examining accusations that Quanjian Group, based in the northeastern port city, had engaged in false marketing practices.

The case is of “great importance” to both the city’s Communist Party committee and its municipal government, the information office said.

“The municipal market and quality supervision department, the health department … and other relevant departments” have been told to establish a joint investigation that will “look into the issues as well as the various problems that have been raised by the public”, the office said.

“The investigation team, which is now stationed in the Quanjian Group, has begun its investigations.”

The company did not respond to the South China Morning Post’s requests for comment.

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An article posted on healthcare website Dingxiang Yisheng on Tuesday linked the company to the death of Zhou Yang in 2015.

The girl’s father, Zhou Erli, a farmer from Inner Mongolia, was quoted on the site as saying that in 2013 he took his daughter out of Beijing Children’s Hospital, where she was being treated for cancer, and had her begin to drink Quanjian’s anti-cancer herbal medicine. She died two years later.

Zhou has claimed that he believed in the drink because of the company’s marketing materials.

“I made a decision then that I have regretted for the rest of my life,” he was quoted on the website. “I had taken Zhou Yang out of the hospital.”

In 2015, he took Quanjian to court over the girl’s death but lost the case because he had failed to prove the company was responsible for false marketing.

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After Zhou Erli’s interview went viral on Tuesday, Quanjian issued a statement dismissing the article as inaccurate.

“It gathered untrue information from the internet and has slandered Quanjian, violated Quanjian’s legal rights and led the public to misunderstand the company,” the statement said, adding that Quanjian, founded in 2004, has spent years searching for lost prescriptions with health benefits.