Home > Current Events > Year 2007 September
A review of stories making the headlines.

Chinese Tibetan pharmacy attracts world's attention
Xinhua News Agency (http://www.china.org.cn), 6 September 2007

Tibetan and other ethnic medicines have attracted the world's attention and will be better known in the future, said Huang Fukai, president of the Beijing Tibetan and Ethnic Medicine Hospital at the recent inauguration ceremony of the Association of Chinese Ethnic Medicine. Huang noted that the Beijing Tibetan and Ethnic Medicine Hospital annually received more than 20,000 foreign visitors. Ever since its founding in 1992, the hospital has received over one million visits, of which 30 million-plus came from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan as well as 60 countries and regions. The hospital has now made breakthrough on planting of safranal and zangmuxiang that were widely applied in the modern Tibetan medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicine branches out, to mixed reaction
Wall Street Journal Online, 10 September 2007

Attempts by some TCM companies to broaden their reach are drawing mixed reactions from investors. Last December, Singapore-listed Eu Yan Sang International opened a large retail shop in one of Singapore's most upmarket malls to target young urban professionals. Called Red, White & Pure, the shop included a spa, restaurant and juice bar. However, this shop incurred losses of US$2.5 million from January to June this year. Richard Eu, the company's current chief executive, estimates that the Red White & Pure concept will take about three years to turn a profit. Doubts arising over the safety and purity of China-made products recently may put a dampener on Eu Yan Sang's global expansion plans.

Traditional Chinese medicine importer receives 18 months sentence
(http://www.cnw.ca) , 13 September 2007

Cheung-Hon Mok received an 18-month sentence after pleading guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice to illegally importing TCMs containing derivatives of endangered animals and plants. The items seized by Environment Canada (a government protection body) included turtle and tortoise shells, orchids and orchid derivatives and coral, all derived from endangered species protected by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES import and export permits were required to be issued by the Canadian authorities prior to importing these goods into. No such permits were obtained in this case.

Malaysia Looks for Bear Bile in Medicine
Federal News Radio (http://www.federalnewsradio.com), 17 September, 2007

Malaysia has begun using kits, similar to pregnancy tests, to check for bile and other ingredients made from bears in TCMs. Wildlife Department enforcement director Misliah Mohamed Basir said officers were using the kits in a program started early this month to check traditional medicine shops nationwide. They want to make sure the remedies do not contain extracts from the organs of bears, which are protected by law. The kits, introduced by the World Society for the Protection of Animals earlier this year, help detect whether a product contains bear protein. They work much like common pregnancy test strips. Trafficking in bears, which are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, is punishable in Malaysia by up to three years in jail and a fine.

UI study shows exercise adds to flu shot's benefits
Illinois News Gazette(www.news-gazette.com), 23 September 2007

A University of Illinois study by kinesiology and community health Professor Yang Yang and colleagues looked at the health of 41 people ages 65 to 95, with an average of 77, and put them on a 20-week program of tai chi, and qigong. The participants met for an hour three times a week and went through a class that mixed the two at intervals throughout each session. The study included a separate control group that didn't go through the program. The participants also received a flu shot. Their blood was sampled at three, six and 20 weeks and tested for flu antibodies. The exercise group showed much higher antibody levels than the control group on average which suggest that exercise adds to the efficacy of flu vaccine."

Acupuncture better than painkillers at relieving low back pain
Food Consumer (http//foodconsumer.org), 27 September 2007

A new German study found acupuncture provided 50 percent of patients who received the treatment with relief that lasted months while conventional treatments including medication only benefited about 25 percent of patients. Researchers found acupuncture worked well to relieve low back pain no matter it was performed by professionals who inserted needles in certain points or by non-professionals who did not know anything about the treatment, but just inserted needles anywhere they wanted without any manipulation. According to study co-author Dr. Heinz Endres of Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, Endres suggested the findings, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, are in consistent with a theory that one pain signal to the brain can be blocked by another. The researchers also said it is possible that the positive effect of acupuncture resulted from positive expectations the patients held about acupuncture and or negative expectations about conventional medicine.

A traditional Chinese medicine for stroke patients
Earth Times (www.earthtimes.org), 27 September 2007

A TCM for stroke patients will undergo a Western-style clinical trial in hospitals in Singapore and the Philippines in October. "NeuroAid" is made in China and marketed by Singapore-based pharmaceutical company Moleac. The trial is being carried out by a non-profit group of doctors from Asia, Australia and Europe. It will also target patients in Thailand and possibly Hong Kong. The two-year study will be funded by a grant from the National Medical Research Centre and include 1,100 patients. Made from 14 Chinese herbs, NeuroAid is available in Singapore as a "Chinese proprietary medicine". If NeuroAid delivers on claims that it helps stroke patients recover movement and thinking abilities, the developers want Western-trained doctors to use the herbal drug as part of mainstream treatment.

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