Hospitals in China offer experimental illegal ‘cures’

SHANGHAI: For student Wei Zexi, the lure of a miracle cure was hard to resist: He was dying from a rare cancer and a well-known Beijing hospital was offering treatment with an 80 percent chance of success and no side effects. It was, the hospital said, the ideal choice.

It said oversight of such hospitals would be improved, but did not say how.

The Reuters review also showed that many of the hospitals surveyed offered patients stem cell therapy, a treatment which is only approved in China for clinical trials.

The Health Ministry told Reuters it was illegal for hospitals to subcontract certain therapies to private clinics and that it would investigate any public hospitals doing so.

Some military hospitals are regarded, alongside university hospitals, as among the country’s best medical facilities.

Another hospital, the General Hospital of Shenyang Military, said on its website it treated more than 1,600 people with a number of immunotherapy treatments.

Repeated calls to the Nanjing hospital and the No. 202 hospital went unanswered.

In Wei’s case the hospital had contracted Shanghai-based private immunotherapy technology company Shanghai Claison.

Other patients complain of being given pricey and unnecessary treatments by military hospitals.