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

Thirst is building for tiger bone wine
China Daily, 1 March 2010

Despite a national ban on dealing in tiger body parts, online trade and tiger farms are flourishing. Ge Rui, Asian Regional Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said tiger farms are now a major threat to the species. While the farms are tolerated, the State Forest Ministry issued a notice that tiger bodies from the farms should be sealed for safekeeping. Chinese animal rights groups recently launched an online campaign pushing for more protection of wild animals. Despite the concern, consumers are still eager on the illegal tonic wine, a 500 ml bottle of tiger bone wine can sell for 1380 yuan. Tiger bone tonic wine is used in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism.

Huge challenges for China in overseas TCM market
People's Daily Online, 4 March 2010

Since 90% of the international herbal medicine market is dominated by Japan and South Korea, development of TCM industry in China faces a huge challenge. The issue has been raised during the annual session of China's top advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Wu Yiling, member of CPPCC, calls to enhance research and development of TCM and promote its industrialization in his proposal to the CPPCC. Wu lists the existing problems such as weak research power, inflexible system and lack of competitiveness in his proposal. He suggests improving the situation by innovation, personnel training and strengthening R&D power.

Practitioners of TCM march against new rules
Thestar.com, 07 March 2010

In Ontario, new regulations proposed to govern the practice of TCM discriminate against the most qualified practitioners. About 300 practitioners and their supporters marched to demand action from the province. The majority of people on the transitional council are not qualified in Chinese medicine and so not in a position to be drafting regulations, said Dr. Mona Zhang, speaking for the 2000-member Federation of Ontario TCM Associations. Zhang and fellow members are demanding the health ministry dissolve the council and appoint qualified representatives to draft non-discriminatory regulations.

Acupuncture does not aid fertility treatment
Telegraph.co.uk, 10 March 2010

Thousands of women are thought to use acupuncture to maximize their fertility treatment. But a comprehensive review of all the available research shows no evidence of any benefit. No matter when the acupuncture was given, there was no significant effect on the rate of birth, pregnancy or miscarriage, experts who looked at 14 studies involving 2670 women said. The experts also found no evidence that Chinese herbal remedies were beneficial to women undergoing the treatment. The British Fertility Society says that patients should be warned that there is no evidence that the therapy will help them to have a baby.

Tibetan Medicine Pharmaceutical Factory targets higher sales
China Tibet Online, 14 March 2010

The Tibetan Medicine Pharmaceutical Factory has targeted its sales revenue of 80 million yuan this year, said Losang Dorje, director of the factory. "We combine the traditional processing methods of Tibetan medicines with modern research and technologies to produce effective medicines," Dorje introduced. Of the 54 types of approved medicines produced by the factory, 15 are on the National Essential Drugs Catalogue and 13 are included in the state-protected Chinese medicines.

Chinese authorities investigating zoo
Hot Indie News, 15 March 2010

In China, authorities are investigating a zoo where three dozen animals including 13 rare Siberian tigers died. The zoo is located in the northeastern city of Shenyang, investigators will look at whether the animal parts were being used as ingredients in Chinese medicine and other products. The deaths have been blamed for inadequate funding, hard cold winter and poor facilities. Zoo workers fed the tigers cheap chicken bones in recent months as funding dried up. The Shenyang government announced that it had allocated one million dollars to save the animals and fund the zoo. Besides the tigers, 22 other animals have died, including rare species that are protected in China, a red-crowned crane, four stump-tailed macaques, and one brown bear.

Call for Chinese medicine hospital
Rthk.org.hk, 21 March 2010

A think-tank has urged the government to establish a Chinese medicine-based hospital. Hong Kong Ideas Centre says that traditional Chinese medicine has become increasingly accepted in the community, the absence of a dedicated institution will hinder its development. Dr Leong Chi-hung, an advisor to the group, noted that while three local universities have a Chinese medicine school, students have to go to the mainland for clinical experience in the absence of any Chinese medicine hospitals here.

China has sleep problems
Shiftworkdisorder.com, 22 March 2010

The Shanghai Institution of TCM for Sleep Disorders recently conducted a survey that showed 38 percent of adults from the city suffer from insomnia. The city has a population of 19 million, and this means that more than 7 million suffer from a sleep disorder. Li Xinzhao, a psychologist from a consulting company, said: Our society encourages people being able to work long hours and sleep very little, which are marked as aggressive, dynamic and successful. Thats wrong. Besides adults, children are also prone to the condition, in eight Chinese cities, 27 percent of children suffer from sleep apnea.

Po Chai pills recall reports ordered
News.gov.hk, 25 March 2010

The Department of Health has directed licensed proprietary Chinese medicine manufacturer Li Chung Shing Tong (Holdings) Ltd HK to submit progress reports on the recall of its two forms of Po Chai pills (O٤Y) after learning the Singaporean authority had detected the banned cancer-causing drug phenolphthalein and anti-obesity drug sibutramine in the capsule form. Singapore started a recall on March 8, and notified Hong Kong. The department said it understands two batches of capsules had been produced using the suspicious set of raw materials. One batch (no. 21217) was exported to Singapore, while the other batch (no. 21133) was supplied to Hong Kong and Macau markets.

Banned Chinese medicine still on sale
BBC, 29 March 2010

A Chinese medicine which can cause cancer is on sale in the UK despite warnings to take it off the market. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency says more than 900 packs of Jingzhi Kesou Tan Chuan Wan (ʨy·ݤY) are circulating in shops. The news comes weeks after a criminal court heard how a UK woman developed kidney failure and cancer after taking pills containing toxic Aristolochia. The unlicensed herbal product was distributed to 20 traditional Chinese medicine and herbal medicine outlets throughout the UK. The distributor, Ekong International (UK) Ltd, issued a recall last month, but more than three quarters of the stock has still not been returned.

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