Home > Current Events > Year 2006 May
A review of stories making the headlines.
In search of hope
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)  April 24, 2006

Families of brain-damaged patients are calling on the Hospital Authority to open its doors to Chinese medicine, saying bureaucracy is costing their relatives a chance to recover. Patients' rights groups also complain that a lack of a clear policy on the use of integrated treatments means patients at each hospital are treated differently. The families say that Western-medicine doctors can only provide support treatments, such as nutrition, physiotherapy and bedsore management for such patents. The arrival of Beijing neurologist Ling Feng to help injured police constable Chu Chun-kwok this month has led to increased calls from other patients asking for alternative treatment. Tim Pang Hung-cheong, spokesman of the Patients Rights Association, said the Hospital Authority did not have a clear policy on combination medicine.

Strict guidelines limit choices
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) (HK)  April 24, 2006

Only a limited number of Chinese medicine practitioners from the Hospital Authority's partner institutions can treat patients at public hospitals, with approval depending on the opinion of the attending doctor. In response to an increasing demand for acupuncture, especially among stroke and cancer patients, the authority last year issued guidelines on using Chinese medicine at public hospitals. They require that public hospital doctors consider whether treatment would harm or benefit the patient, and what evidence supports that opinion. Patients require approval from their attending doctors and must sign a document agreeing to bear the risks and consequences of alternative treatment. Only registered practitioners from partner institutes are allowed to conduct acupuncture at public hospitals in Hong Kong.

Government hospitals to offer traditional treatment
http://www.herbamalaysia.net  April 26, 2006

Patients will soon have a choice of whether to seek Western or traditional treatment at selected government hospitals. Sinseh, bomoh and ayurvedic practitioners will be able to treat patients at selected government hospitals following a Health Ministry initiative to incorporate modern and traditional medicines into the national healthcare system. Health Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Datuk Lee Kah Choon said three hospitals (Kepala Batas Hospital, Putrajaya Hospital and Sultanah Aminah Hospital) had been identified to set up departments to provide TCM. Only two private hospitals (the Tung Shin Hospital in Kuala Lumpur and the Lam Wah Ee Hospital in Penang) offer both modern and traditional treatments. World Health Organisation statistics show that two-thirds of the population in developing countries and more than half in developed countries favour TCM.

New law would set up regulatory college
Toronto Star (Canada)  May 5, 2006

The Ontario government plans to implement Bill 50, a bill to create the Traditional Chinese Medicine Act, which has already received first reading in the legislature. It would set up a college of TCM practice to create a self-regulating profession, similar to the bodies that govern doctors, nurses, chiropractors and physiotherapists. It would also define a scope of practice and establish which members may use the "doctor" title. It would also restrict the practice of acupuncture to members of regulated health professions and to persons who perform it as part of an addiction treatment program within a health facility. British Columbia is now the only Canadian province that regulates traditional Chinese medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicine exports skyrocket
www.chinaview.cn (China)  May 6, 2006

Xinhua reported that China exported TCM to 164 countries and regions around the world last year, with export earnings reaching an all-time high of US$ 830 million according to the China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Export earnings represented a 14.5 percent increase over the previous year. However, exports only accounted for 6 percent of China's total export of medicine products and most of the earnings came from the export of low value-added extracted herbal substances and raw materials. Experts here said as the world's major production base of herbal medicine, China should intensify efforts to develop and export more high value-added patent medicine.

Russian trauma children get new life with TCM
China Daily (Hong Kong Edition)  May 6, 2006

Ten Russian children, survivors of the Beslan hostage crisis of 2004, arrived in Sanya, Hainan Province for 30 days of free convalescent treatment. These children, aged between 9 and 16, are receiving special TCM treatment plus some recreational activities, thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Chinese and Russian health authorities early last November. A group of doctors including Liu were dispatched to Russia's Beslan by China's Ministry of Health last month to help diagnose and treat the injured children. "Children are urgently in need for psychological treatment instead of physical injuries as the hostage crisis has brought them more mental suffering than physical pain," stated Liu. "As a result, traditional therapies, such as massage, acupuncture and ointments might play a major role for sooner recovering." The children's treatment in China serves as a good example of combining traditional Chinese therapies and Western medicine, said Liu.

Hospital authority modernization urged
Hong Kong Government  May 8, 2006

The three key directions in the way forward for Hong Kong's Hospital Authority are to modernize it, reduce avoidable hospitalisation, and expand patient choice and access, its Chief Executive of Hong Kong's hospital authority, Mr Shane Solomon said at the recent Hospital Authority Convention. During the convention, Mr Solomon said traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is likely to have a stronger role in reducing hospitalisation. The authority's strategy of progressive implementation of TCM in partnership with the private sector will establish the evidence-based and collaborative model to further respond to community demand for TCM.

Chinese pharmaceutical producers are making up for lost time by developing anti-malarial drugs for the African market
China Daily (Hong Kong Edition)  May 8, 2006

Chinese researchers in the 1970s discovered that Artemisinin, extracted from wormwood, was particularly effective in treating malaria, one of the world's most lethal diseases. The herb had been used for centuries in TCM to combat fever. Chloroquine, the traditional anti-malarial drug was losing its effectiveness due to the growing resistance of the malaria parasite to the drug. Although Chinese researchers were the first to discover Artemisinin, the country's pharmaceutical industry generally lagged behind developed countries in the development of anti-malarial, Artemisinin-based drugs. However China is quickly catching up to the major Western pharmaceutical companies. The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a global standard, asking countries to switch from old malaria treatments to Artemisinin-based combination therapies over the next four years.

Chinese sister city visit
The Nelson Mail (New Zealand)  May 12, 2006

A delegation from Nelson's Chinese sister city Huangshi will soon be arriving on a visit. The major purpose of the visit is to form a relationship between the Huangshi Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital and Nelson Hospital. The ten delegates will stay for around 4 days.

A new potential anti-malarial drug
Vita Europe (Italy)  May 15, 2006

Eurartekin, a new drug to fight malaria is the product of cooperation between Sygma-tau, an Italian Pharmaceutical Company, Chongqing Holley Holding, a Chinese Pharmaceutical Company, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) a not-for-profit-organization and Oxford University. Sygma Tau has the responsibility for the industrial development of the project; the University of Oxford coordinates the clinical area and MMV provides financial support. The four partners are working for the international clinical and industrial development of Eurartekin to make it available as soon as possible, especially in those countries where malaria infection is nearly pandemic.

Compiled By: Jennifer Eagleton, BA, MA (Asian Studies), Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.