The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety will closely scrutinize claims about foods, medicines and medical devices advertised as coronavirus treatments or preventives.
Online shopping malls, agencies that buy products on behalf of customers and secondhand trading markets will be the subject of close examination for any false or exaggerated claims, the ministry said Tuesday.
The main targeted products include prescription drugs, such as chloroquine and dexamethasone, and unauthorized medical devices and foods purported to be effective in preventing or treating COVID-19.
Unsubstantiated rumors on social media about the effects of chloroquine and dexamethasone on the disease have led people to buy them through online secondhand markets.
The ministry has warned that buying or selling prescription drugs online is illegal, and that prescription drugs should never be taken without consulting a doctor first.
Websites caught making false claims to sell products to treat or prevent COVID-19 will be quickly shut down, according to the ministry. Repeat offenders will be subject to administrative orders or criminal charges.
The ministry plans to launch a cyber-monitoring team made up of citizens to report misleading ads on the internet.
By Kan Hyeong-woo (firstname.lastname@example.org