A investigation team, formed by the Tianjin Municipal Government, have announced that the Tianjin-based healthcare product giant Quanjian Group was involved in false marketing, after releasing an advertisement which claimed that they’d cured a patient of cancer with their medicine.
The investigation got underway after Dingxiang Yisheng, a WeChat medical account, published an article on December 25 that claimed that the company had used misleading information in one of their advertisements and contributed to the death of a 4-year-old Inner Mongolian girl, identified as Zhou Yang, in December of 2015.
The article revealed that the medicine had done nothing to help her, as, later, the girl tragically died from the disease.
According to the article, the girl was being treated for cancer at Beijing Children’s Hospital in 2013, where, after a few major surgeries, the cancer markers in her system began to drop. It was at this time that her father, Zhou Erli, was contacted by a representative from Quanjian, claiming that they could cure the girl’s disease with their cheaper, but effective, ‘anti-cancer’ products.
Zhou then took his daughter out of the hospital and began using Quanjian Group’s medicine, a decision that he said he would “regret for the rest of his life.”
The girl’s health condition began to deteriorate over the following two months. Around this time, as the girl lingered between life and death, an advertisement from Quanjian Group began to circulate on multiple online platforms, using Zhou Yang’s portrait and saying that the company’s ‘anti-cancer’ products had cured the girl of her disease.
The above advertisement uses Zhou Yang's photo and claims that her cancer markers dropped to a normal level after the girl took Quanjian's medicine for less than two months. Screengrab via Dingxiang Yisheng
Quanjian Group later responded to Dingxiang Yisheng’s article with a statement on Weibo saying that the claims were “slanderous and based on false information online,” while also demanding the WeChat account take down the article.
An image showing a package of beverage mix, which is made with dates, and a container of comfrey body oil. Both of the above Quanjian products were used by the sick girl. Screengrab via Dingxiang Yisheng
The situation escalated into a tit-for-tat between the two parties, with Quanjian threatening to sue, while Dingxiang Yisheng revealed more inside information regarding the company, indicating that they have been involved in pyramid scheme practices, and asserted that they will not delete the article and “stand by every word” they said.
This back-and-forth exchange eventually drew the attention of the Tianjin Municipal Party Committee and the Tianjin Municipal Government, which then formed an investigation team to look into the case.
Quanjian is a large healthcare product company based in China with its business scope covering a number of areas, including healthcare products, food and beverage items, cosmetics and more. It has over 7,000 outlets specializing in so-called ‘fire therapy’ across China, which Science and Technology Daily reported is “complete nonsense” and which caused a patient in Nanjing severe burns.
An image of Quanjian’s ‘fire therapy.’ Image via Caijing.com
A WeChat account operated by the company, called Quanjian Huoliao Yeting, conducted a poll on December 28, asking their followers to vote on which side of the argument they believed. This turned out to be a major miscalculation, as their findings showed that a staggering 24,241 (92 percent) participants opted for their opponent, Dingxiang Yisheng, with only 2,069 (7 percent) votes going in Quanjian Group’s favor.
Quanjian Huoliao Yeting’s December 28 poll. Screengrab via Science and Technology Daily/WeChat
As of press time, multiple e-commerce platforms, including JD.com, Tmall and Taobao, have removed Quanjian’s products from their websites.
[Cover image via Sina.com]