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

Finding the right legal prescription
People's Daily Online, 7 April 2010

Tian Shuyan, dean of Yiling Medical Research Institute, said TCM industry should raise public consciousness about intellectual property protection, and domestic enterprises should dig in to study how best to use the current system, relying mainly on patents, technological secrets and trademarks. He said four aspects of TCM need urgent protection, including prescriptions, processing technologies, various kinds of treatments and germplasm resources of medicines. Liu Tonghua, a professor at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, said problems for TCM intellectual property protection include low awareness of invention protection, low technological content, shortage of creativity, and lack of basic knowledge and skills in the patent application process.

HKBU offers English-language Chinese medicine course for exchange students
Hong Kong Baptist University, 7 April 2010

The School of Chinese Medicine of Hong Kong Baptist University has been offering an introductory course in TCM since 2008-09 to international exchange students. The one-semester, non-credit-bearing course requires no examination. It offers 10 lessons, covering topics like the development and history of Chinese medicine, Yin-Yang Theory and Five Phase Theory, principles of disease prevention and treatment, the Four Examination Methods, acupuncture, Chinese body massage therapy, Chinese herbal medicine and food therapy, and product development and marketing of Chinese medicine. Dr. Dang Yi, Senior Lecturer of the School, said up to now the School has offered the course for four semesters.

Arsenic can treat blood cancer
The Straits Times, 10 April 2010

Scientists in China have demonstrated how arsenic, a favourite murder weapon in the Middle Ages, destroys deadly blood cancer by targeting and killing specific proteins that keep the cancer alive. The lead researcher Zhang Xiaowei at the State Key Laboratory of Medical Genomics said: "Unlike chemotherapy, the side effects of arsenic (in treating acute promyelocytic leukemia) are very low. There is no hair loss or suppression of bone marrow (function). We are interested in finding out how arsenic can be used in other cancers." Well known for its toxicity, arsenic was regarded in the past as the king among poisons because its symptoms are like those of cholera and can often go undetected. In China, however, it has long served a dual purpose. Apart from intentional poisoning, it has been used for at least 2000 years in TCM.

Council to set qualification standards for TCM
The Sun Daily, 11 April 2010

In Malaysia, a council will be set up to draw-up guidelines and legal policies as well as set qualification standards for Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) once a bill to regulate its practices is passed by parliament. Ministry of Health's Director of TCM Dr. Ramli Abd. Ghani said: "If we have the Act, a TCM Council will be set up, like the Malaysian Medical Council. The Council will set up legal policies and guidelines, and qualification standards to protect the public."

MSIG Insurance cover for TCM practitioners
The Star Online, 14 April 2010

MSIG Insurance (Malaysia) Bhd has in collaboration with the Federation of Chinese Physicians and Acupuncturists Association of Malaysia (FCPAAM), introduced a professional liability insurance scheme for TCM practitioners. In a statement, MSIG said the practitioners can enjoy financial protection against potential negligence claims by patients, error or omission committed by them, with the new scheme. The scheme offers indemnity protection of up to RM500000 with the annual premium starting from RM388. It is exclusively available to all registered FCPAAM members aged between 21 and 70 years.

Rare fungus faces extinction
China Daily, 15 April 2010

Cordycepes or Caterpillar fungus is a rare insect-like fungus used in TCM, but it is in danger of disappearing forever. The decline is largely due to habitat loss and over-harvesting, being driven by skyrocketing demand for costly and exotic herbal remedies among China's growing middle and upper classes. The problem extends far beyond caterpillar fungus, it is estimated that 15 to 20 percent of plants and animals used in TCM are endangered or near extinction, according to a 2008 report by UK-based TRAFFIC. The central government has dramatically expanded efforts to encourage cultivation.

Taiwan doctors open their first traditional clinic
China Daily, 21 April 2010

The first Chinese medicine clinic staffed only by doctors from Taiwan has opened in Beijing. Hsieh Maoyuan, dean of the clinic, said: "All of the 12 doctors have practicing certificates on the mainland, and 10 of them graduated from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine." He also said: "The main problem for the clinic was the lack of policy support, I hope the treatment costs of our patients will soon be included in health insurance so we can serve more residents."

Chinese media and culture heading abroad
China Daily, 29 April 2010

China will boost the development of its cultural and media industries abroad. Minister of Culture Cai Wu said cultural products and services with strong Chinese characteristics, including music, acrobatic and dance shows, exhibitions, radio and TV programs, publications and cartoons, will receive particular support from the government. Domestic cultural enterprises are encouraged to set up overseas branches through single proprietorship, joint ventures, holding interests and equity participation. The People's Medical Publishing House (PMPH) is one of the first publishing houses that expanded abroad, itsˇ¦ director Hu Guochen said: "Opening up international markets is not a one-day job, there is too much to be considered - policies, talents and financial problems."

TCM licence revoked
The Straits Times, 30 April 2010

TCM practitioner Huang Danmin lost his licence after being found guilty of professional misconduct for rendering questionable treatments on a patient. Mr Huang was also convicted of possessing and selling various poisons, in breach of the Poisons Act. According to the TCM Practitioners Board, Mr Huang had also failed to keep proper records of patient treatments, leading to the cancellation of his acupuncturist and TCM physician license.

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