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Was hard sell behind health tonic death?

China Daily | Updated: 2019-03-20 09:25

A SALESPERSON, as well as a large-quantity buyer of Nu Skin juice, refused modern medicine and only took her purchased juice after falling ill in late February, reportedly under the guidance of Nu Skin "tutors". She died from a lung infection in Beijing on March 2. Nu Skin announced an internal probe on Tuesday. China Daily reporter Zhang Zhouxiang comment:

It should be noted that Nu Skin did not launch the internal probe until 17 days after the woman's death. It is probable that the pressure of public opinion is the reason for its move, as the hashtag #sick woman dies after she took Nu Skin juice instead of medicine# had already been read 360 million times on micro blogs by Monday night.

Now the incident might be subject to an investigation by the regulatory departments.

It is common sense that when a person gets sick, he or she should go to the hospital and accept treatment. However, the woman's family said she refused medicine because her "tutor" at Nu Skin, who is actually a salesperson, told her to do so. According to the family, when the woman was suffering from a high fever, her Nu Skin "tutor" told her she was "detoxifying". The words of the "tutor" might have possibly delayed the woman's treatment, and if that's the case, the "tutor" and Nu Skin company might need to bear legal liability.

According to the woman's family, she even refused to send her child to hospital when the child got sick, saying it was under the guidance of the "tutor". That might mean the company and its salespersons must shoulder more responsibilities.

Besides, Beijing Youth Daily said a video clip spread widely online shows that Nu Skin salespersons openly proclaim to audiences that they can cure cancer. The salespersons even tell their audiences not to go to the hospital when they get ill, urging them to "take Nu Skin products in double the quantity". Thus there might be more victims, for whom Nu Skin and its salespersons should bear responsibility, as their exaggerated claims might have misled the patients and delayed their treatment.

In its latest announcement, Nu Skin said its internal probe will focus on whether its staff have acted appropriately in promoting sales. But that is not enough, the regulatory departments of advertising, food safety and public health need to investigate the woman's death as well, and put an end to the company's misleading advertising in a timely manner if there is any.

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