Sat, Oct 15, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Top official warns about illegal Web contact lens sales

By Hung Su-ching  /  Staff Reporter

Despite regulations prohibiting the sale of contact lenses on the Internet, social networking Web site Facebook has become the new platform for salespeople selling contact lenses online.

With the rise of auction sites, there are many salespeople who go abroad to buy adult medications, as well as contact lenses that enlarge the pupils, Food and Drug Administration Director-General Kang Jaw-jou (康照洲) said, adding that things have developed to the stage where consumers can simply place an order online and the merchandise would be delivered to them.

Facebook has also become one of the platforms for distributors, Kang said.

Although some contact lenses that enlarge the pupils do not have the capability of correcting vision, contact lenses still cannot legally be sold online, Kang said, adding that aside from contact lenses, medical equipment such as Band-Aids, ear thermometers, condoms, tampons, presbyopia glasses, pregnancy tests and blood-pressure monitors all must be sold in a physical store with a legal pharmaceuticals permit.

Article 27 of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act (藥事法) says that to sell medical equipment, one must register with the health authority in the relevant municipality, county or city and receive a pharmaceuticals permit.

The act states that pharmacy registration must include a store address, location and a blueprint of the primary facilities.

In other words, there must be a physical store to register as a pharmacy.

Violation of the act is punishable with a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000, Kang said, adding that under current regulations Web auctioneers cannot register to sell medicine or medical equipment.

While some consumers feel that the Department of Health is overextending its influence, Kang said that the quality of medical equipment or medicine has the potential to cause bodily harm.

Equipment sold over the Internet makes it difficult to trace who is responsible for causing harm or when demanding remuneration, Kang said, adding that consumers should not buy medical equipment on the Web.

Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer

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