Home > Current Events > Year 2010 January
A review of stories making the headlines.

Traditional medicine practitioners must register with new council
Sun2Surf, 11 January 2010

In Malaysia, practitioners of traditional medicine must register with the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Council that will be set up soon before they can practice. Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said his ministry was drafting special laws for the field that would be tabled and debated in Parliament this year. Under those laws, those who register with the council would be issued a registration certificate as proof of qualification to practice. Liow said as of now medical practitioners should follow the Medicines (Advertisement and Sale) Act, the Medical Act, the Sale of Drugs Act, and other related legislation.

23 complaints against TCM practitioners
Asia One, 13 January 2010

There are currently 2,421 registered TCM practitioners in Singapore. According to a written reponse by Minister of Health Khaw Boon Wan, 23 complaints have been lodged against them over the past three years. Most of the complaints were allegations of professional negligence, misconduct and the misuse of Western medicine. Currently, TCM practitioners in Singapore do not need to be covered by professional indemnity insurance. However, the TCM Practitioners Board encourages all registered TCM practitioners to be covered by professional indemnity insurance on a voluntary basis.

Traditional Chinese medicine eyes European market
People's Daily Online, 15 January 2010

A pharmaceutical firm that produces traditional Chinese medicine in Gansu Province is hoping to make Sweden its gateway to the European Union market after a landmark EU directive on herbal drugs takes effect in 15 months. "We have applied to export our medicine to Sweden and eventually other EU markets," said Sun Yu, deputy general manager of Foci Pharmaceuticals. Foci Pharmaceuticals, founded in 1929, has been selling herb extracted pills to 27 countries and regions including the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Netherlands and Australia. It is China's largest exporter of herbal products in terms of volume and number of destinations. The company has applied for authorization of 10 product categories to be sold to Sweden, and hope one or two will make it in the coming 15 months.

Utar set to produce doctors
The Star Online, 16 January 2010

A new Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rah-man's (Utar) will start its first intake in May. The Higher Education Ministry has approved the faculty's Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programs. The faculty will accept an initial batch of 50 students this year. Utar's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences also plans to offer three more degree programs in Nursing, Physiotherapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine. There are currently 25 universities' training doctors in Malaysia, ten of them are public universities while private universities and university colleges make up the rest.

Automatic symptom name normalization in clinical records of TCM
7thspace.com, 20 January 2010

Data Mining technology has been applied in the field of TCM to discover regularities from the experience accumulated in the past thousands of years in China. A study focuses its attention on the phenomena of "one symptom with different names" and investigates a series of metrics for automatically normalizing symptom names in clinical records of TCM. A series of extensive experiments were performed to validate the metrics proposed, and the results have verified that the investigated metrics are reasonable and accurate, and the hybrid similarity metrics are much better than the metrics based on literal similarity or remedy-based similarity alone.

Intangible cultural heritage survey launched
News.gov.hk, 20 January 2010

A territory-wide survey to compile the first inventory of intangible cultural heritage in Hong Kong has launched. The research items include oral traditions, expressions, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe such as bone-setting and traditional Chinese medicine production, and traditional craftsmanship as well. The research team from the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology's South China Research Centre has been compiling an initial list covering the five domains through the study of existing publications, written records, videos and archives. They will also conduct interviews, observations and video recordings.

Rhino horns seized at Shannon
RTE News, 22 January 2010

Ten rhino horns, with an estimated value of £á500,000, have been seized by Customs officials at Shannon Airport of Ireland. Three people are likely to face court proceedings in connection with the haul. The items were seized during three separate searches, and were found in the suitcases of three people, all Irish. Six are from white rhinos, which are an endangered species, and four are from black rhinos, a breed which is also now critically endangered. The seizures were made under an international convention known as CITES, which aims to stop international trade in endangered species. This haul is of international significance as seizures like this are very rare.

Chinese medicine market sought for cane toad poison
BBC News, 26 January 2010

Australia's most notorious pest, the pervasive and poisonous cane toad, could soon end up on dinner tables and in medicinal treatments in Asia. A representative from a Queensland meat processing firm is travelling to China to negotiate an export deal. There are an estimated 200 million cane toads in Australia, where they pose a major threat to native wildlife. Reviled in Australia, the cane toad is a popular ingredient in a range of traditional medicines in China as the animal's skin and organs are thought to have powerful therapeutic qualities. Its toxins are used as a heart stimulant and as a diuretic as well a remedy for sinusitis and toothache.

China to ban eating dogs, cats
Newser, 27 January 2010

China plans to end thousands of years of culinary tradition by taking dogs and cat meat off its menu. A law being drafted against animal abuse¡XChina's first¡Xcalls for the country's thousands of dog butchers and dog meat restaurants to be closed down. Stiff fines will be imposed on anybody caught eating dog or cat meat, the Times of London reports. The debate over eating dogs and cats has sparked fierce disagreements between the affluent, pet-owning middle classes and sticklers for traditional values. Dog meat is a traditional winter dish, while cat meat is less widely eaten.

Government to tighten Chinese jamu imports
Tempointeractive, 28 January, 2010

In Indonesia, the Trade Ministry plans to include imported products and traditional herbal drinks or jamu among five products to be regulated. The five products, namely footwear, textile, food and beverage, electronics and toys will only be able to enter the country through five major ports. Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu told reporters that her office was evaluating recommendations to tighten cosmetic and jamu imports. At present, imports can only enter through the ports of Tanjung Priok, Tanjung Perak, Tanjung Emas, Belawan and Soekarno-Hatta.

Compiled By:
Rose Tse, Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.