China investigates Baidu over search that led dying student to experimental treatment

China's health ministry will investigate a hospital that a university student turned to for cancer treatment after seeking information on the Baidu Inc search engine, a state health commission said on Tuesday.

The student, Wei Zexi, 21, died last month of a rare form of cancer and China's Internet regulator said on Monday it would investigate Baidu over the case.

Wei had searched Baidu for the best place for treatment, finding a department under the Second Hospital of Beijing Armed Police Corps which offered an experimental treatment that ultimately failed, state media reported this week.

The health ministry, along with military health departments, would jointly investigate the hospital, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said in a short statement on its website.

The ministry did not give further details about the investigation but said the case had drawn widespread public attention.

Before dying, Wei accused Baidu online of promoting false medical information, and the hospital for misleading advertising in claiming a high success rate for the treatment, state radio said.

Baidu said in a statement it deeply regretted Wei's death, and it would fully co-operate with the investigation.

Baidu's shares dropped sharply after the investigation was announced on fears it may hit its advertising revenues and that it could face a sharp response from regulators who are keenly sensitive to healthcare-related scandals.

Reuters was not able to reach the hospital for comment.