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China Search Health

Baidu faces investigation into healthcare advertising practices after student's death


By Charlotte McEleny, Asia Editor

May 3, 2016 | 2 min read

Baidu is facing an investigation from the Chinese government after a student died after seeking experimental treatment, found via the search engine, for the rare cancer he was suffering from.

According to the BBC, Chinese government departments including the Cyberspace Administration of China,the State Administration of Industry and Commerce, and the National Health and Family Planning Commission are looking into the matter.

Wei Zexi died last month but had used the search engine to seek out treatment. According to reports he responded to the top listing on Baidu which was for ‘controversial treatment’ at the Second Hospital of the Beijing Armed Police Corps.

The ethics of its ad practices has come has come under fire, with questions placed over whether it is selling listings to bidders without adequately checking their claims.

It isn’t the first time the search engine and social network has come under fire for the way it deals with health advertisers. It came under scrutiny earlier this year as it was found to be selling forum access to medical firms.

A hashtag has been trending on Sina Weibo calling for a boycott of Baidu services. Baidu has acknowledged the claims and has said that it is launching a full investigation into what has happened.

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