Importing drugs legally available in overseas markets without official approval may be exempt from punishment in some cases, according to a revised law passed by China's top legislature on Monday.
Importing "a small amount" of drugs that do not cause health damage or interfere with existing treatment can be exempt from legal consequences, the revised Drug Administration Law, approved by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said.
In general, however, importing drugs without approval will still result in serious legal consequences, including the revocation of business permits.
According to the existing law, drugs not approved by Chinese drug authorities — including those legally available in overseas markets — are considered fake and selling them can result in criminal punishment.
The revised law also increases penalties for legal violations. Producing and selling fake drugs, for example, results in suspension of the business and revocation of certificates. A fine of up to 30 times the value of the products produced or sold will be levied, compared to the penalty of five times the value that is stipulated in the existing law.