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

Chinese medical park begins construction early 2011
Macau Daily, 1 December 2010

The Macau Government spokesperson Alexis Tam has announced that the construction of the Chinese Medical Technology Industrial Park is likely to begin in the first quarter of 2011. He also stressed that once the approval from the Central Government is obtained, the Guangdong-Macau Cooperation Framework Agreement can be inked immediately and the construction of the park can then begin. The Ministry of Science and Technology has recently approved the establishment of a key state laboratory of traditional Chinese medicine in Macau.

pCm Hong Kong clamp down on Chinese medicine
Cityjournalistdirectory.com, 3 December 2010

Regulators in Hong Kong are clamping down on the proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm) industry. Tough new laws have been passed that could find up to one third of local pCm products illegal. The Food and Health Bureau of Hong Kong made an unexpected announcement that all unregistered pCm will be forbidden in Hong Kong from 3rd Dec 2010. After that date, anyone who sells, imports or possesses unregistered pCm will be fined a maximum of HK$100,000 HK Dollars or be sentenced to two years' jail.

Medical degrees land private colleges in court
CBC News, 3 December 2010

In Canada, the B.C. government is seeking an injunction against two Burnaby colleges accused of offering to certify students as doctors without proper provincial authorization, for titles like "natural health doctor" and "doctor of traditional complementary medicine." The province says the colleges are not authorized to offer any such qualifications under B.C.'s Degree Authorization Act. Some schools in B.C. are legally qualified to grant the qualification of Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, under a program established by the province in 1996 and governed by the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine under the Health Professions Act.

International meeting on Hong Kong's Chinese herb standards
Press Zoom, 6 December 2010

The Fifth Meeting of the International Advisory Board (IAB) on the Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards (HKCMMS) commenced in 6th December. The four-day meeting, chaired by the Director of Health, Dr PY Lam, is attended by over 40 overseas, Mainland and local experts in Chinese herbal medicine, as well as researchers from six local participating universities. The Meeting reviewed and endorsed the research work of the current phase of the HKCMMS project and formulated a strategic plan for the next phase. The number of commonly used herbs to be covered by the project will increase from the present 60 to more than 200.

$100,000 fine for importing threatened orchids
The Vancouver Sun, 6 December 2010

Conservationists applauded a $100,000 fine - a Canadian record - for a wholesale company in Vancouver provincial court that unlawfully imported threatened orchids for the traditional Chinese medicine market. Sun 2006 Import and Export Ltd. pleaded guilty to unlawful importation of the orchid, Dendrobium. Environment Canada charged the company in May 2010 after an intensive year-long investigation. Although the origin of the orchids has not been stated, it is suspected they came from China or that region.

TCMs face European ban in April
People's Daily Online, 7 December 2010

Traditional Chinese medicines are just months away from seeing the implementation of a European ban that will drastically limit their distribution and may put certain retailers out of business. The European Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products was passed in April 2004, but the effects were delayed to 1st April next year, all herbal medicines sold in the EU will have to be licensed. TCM distributors will have to prove that their products have been used for at least 30 years, including at least 15 years in the EU community. TCM products have long been sold in the form of food, healthcare products and supplements will all be illegal in the EU as of April.

Ginseng might boost brain power, but evidence is weak
Medical News Today, 9 December 2010

Ginseng is said to provide a broad array of physical and mental benefits, including cognitive enhancement and protection against age-related decline and dementia. However, a comprehensive review of research failed to find convincing evidence of these benefits. Dr. Jin Song Geng, lead review author said that recommendations about (whether to take the herb) cannot be made due to the lack of high-quality evidence. The review appears in The Cochrane Library, an international organization that evaluates medical research.

Trends driving demand for fruit juices in the Chinese soft drinks market
Food Forum India, 13 December 2010

China ranked third globally, in terms of new product launches in the soft drinks market. In 2009, over 300 new soft drinks were launched and more than half of these were juices. Functional drinks, concentrates and bottled water were the other categories. Besides the health trend, the choice of consumers is being influenced by growing presence of international brands like Danone, PepsiCo, and Coco-Cola in China. In addition, they prefer their soft drinks in local flavours and those that contain traditional Chinese herbs like green tea, jujube, chrysanthemum, and lotus root.

WHO moves to classify traditional medicines
www.cmaj.ca, 14 December 2010

WHO will create a web-based classification system for traditional medicines to help bring them out from "the dark side of the planet of health information." Initial focus will be on traditional medicine practices in China, Japan and Korea, as they have a long history of use and higher level of standardization in comparison with other nations. The classification platform will be similar to a model developed at Stanford University that organizes information into "principled ontologies," which are defined not as states of being, but rather as hierarchical groupings of biomedical knowledge that contain all relevant entities and their relationships.

Doc: homemade painkillers may cause liver, kidney failure
The Star Online, 14 December 2010

Malaysians should be wary of "homemade" traditional medicines not prescribed by licensed practitioners. Malaysian Chinese Medical Association (MCMA) secretary-general Dr Lim Sin Hoe said there were many unlicensed companies claiming that their products were traditional herbal Chinese medicine. A Singaporean woman was reported to be poisoned after taking pain-relieving pills from Malaysia and might be linked to her liver failure. The pills came in plastic bags with Chinese words claiming to be "homemade from secret ingredients of herbs". The Health Ministry confirmed that the pills were not registered.

Acupuncture may be as effective as patching for treating amblyopia
Internalmedicinenews.com, 15 December 2010

Acupuncture may be an effective alternative to occlusion therapy when treating children with anisometropic amblyopia, suggests a study in the December 2010 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology. Dr. Jianhao Zhao and colleagues from the Shantou University in China and the Chinese University of Hong Kong conducted a randomized, controlled trial in which they compared acupuncture and patching in 88 children aged 7-12 years who had anisometropic amblyopia. "Acupuncture at vision-related acupoints may modulate the activity of the visual cortex," they wrote. "Moreover, acupuncture has been shown to be effective in increasing blood flow to the cerebral and ocular vasculatures, stimulating the expression of retinal nerve growth factors and leading to metabolic changes in the central nervous system."

Taiwan ready to sign medical cooperation agreement with China
Focus Taiwan, 15 December 2010

With preparatory talks having been completed, the heads of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) should have no problem signing the deal. Prevention of epidemics, management of research and development of medical products, management and research of traditional Chinese medicine, and first aid and emergency medical treatment, will be included in the agreement. Among them, prevention of epidemics and management of traditional Chinese medicine are considered the most urgent items, said Deputy Health Minister Hsiao Mei-ling.

China's protection on TCMs ineffective overseas
CRIENGLISH.com, 16 December 2010

China's measures to prevent TCM ingredients from being exposed are found in vain overseas as people can easily found the formula of a famous homeostatic on the internet. The Shanghai-based National Business Daily reports a document published on the FDA website has listed the nine ingredients of Yunnan Baiyao Ding, a dietary supplement based on the Yunnan Baiyao formula, which is prohibited from being made public in China. More than 2,000 TCM products so far have been on the protection list since China promulgated regulations on 1st January 1993. Under the regulations, the protected medicines were divided into two classes and their formulas would be kept classified from seven to 30 years, accordingly.

Bill on traditional medicine to be tabled next March
The Star Online, 17 December 2010

In Malaysia, a Bill on the monitoring and enforcement of traditional and complementary medicine will be tabled in Parliament. A new branch under the Health Ministry íV Traditional and Complementary Medicine íV was set up, said Sarawak branch head Dr Hamidi Mohamad Sharkawi. "Our main function is to plan awareness programmes to ensure the services of traditional and complementary medicine are safe for patients and that their well-being is taken care of," he told reporters.

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