Medical facility certificate system is a failure: group

QUACKS?:Taiwan Women’s Link said at least two aesthetic clinics that have been accredited by the government are offering medical diagnoses made by non-medical workers

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Jan 25, 2014 - Page 3

The voluntary accreditation for aesthetic medical facilities promoted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare has failed to uphold its credibility, the Taiwan Women’s Link and Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) said yesterday, adding that a majority of facilities remain non-certified and some that have received certification have been found breaking the law.

One year has passed since the ministry started the accreditation scheme, but only 43, or 5 percent, of the nearly 800 aesthetic medical facilities in the country have applied for certification, the group said.

The number of those that have been successfully certified is even lower, Taiwan Woman’s Link director-general Huang Shu-ying (黃淑英) said.

Only 25 of the 43 facilities that applied have passed the evaluation, accounting for 3 percent of the total number of the facilities.

Not only have many aesthetic clinic chains operated by corporates remained non-certified, a majority of the 43 public hospitals with aesthetic medical centers also failed to take part in the government’s initiative, with only Veterans General Hospitals in Taipei, Greater Taichung and Greater Kaohsiung procuring the certificate, Huang said.

She added that 20 percent of the few facilities that have been accredited violate the law on a regular basis by providing Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment that has not been through clinical trials, and 40 percent are marketing aesthetic medical therapies on their official Web sites, which is illegal.

“Skin whitening injections [using PRP] have so far not been approved, so the advertisements we see on the streets should all be examined and curbed as they are very likely in violation of the law,” Wu said.

The group added that at least two certified aesthetic clinics are recommending therapies, offering consultations and medical diagnoses made by non-medical workers.

The ministry’s Department of Medical Affairs Director Lee Wui-chiang (李偉強) said in response that any medical facility advertising or conducting PRP treatments or skin whitening injections are in violation of the Medical Care Act (醫療法), and promotional activities or discounts for medical therapies are also in violation of regulations concerning advertisements for medical care.

Lee said that those that have obtained the certification, but failed to abide by the rules would be either stripped of the accreditation, temporarily or for good, adding that the certification system is not the government’s only supervisory measure, as the ministry has requested local health authorities to closely monitor aesthetic medical facilities on various fronts and is further expanding the inspection this year.