Regulators have launched a probe at Baidu after a dying student accused the country’s top search engine of promoting false medical information. As Ryan Brooks reports, investors have cuts more than $5bln from Baidu’s market capitalisation.
The local equivalent of Google under investigation after the death of a a 21-year-old cancer patient who used experimental drugs that he found on the website…
Drugs that ultimately failed.
State media say Wu Zexi trusted the treatment because it was promoted by what appeared to be a credible military hospital.
Reuters’ Paul Carsten explains why it’s the search engine that’s taking the flak.
REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, PAUL CARSTEN, SAYING:
“China’s private healthcare system which is quite wild and wooly, not very well regulated, and known for often engaging in fraudulent advertisement for services, uh… really does use Baidu’s search engine quite a lot to advertise their products because they don’t often have a lot of other channels with which to do it. Now Baidu also very prominently features adverts on its search engine. More so than for example Google. A lot of these ads are for medical services. People are saying Baidu is not doing enough to verify and check and ensure that these services are legit. The risk to them is if they do begin to crack down and verify, they could lose a chunk of their revenues.”
This isn’t the first time the company’s been involved in a medical scandal…
-which then promoted its services on the site and deleted critical comments.
The site has also been accused of promoting counterfeit drugs.