Home > Current Events > Year 2011 July
A review of stories making the headlines.

Regulating traditional medicine
The Star Online, 3 July 2011

The Health Ministry's Traditional and Complementary Medicine Division estimates that there are 15,000 traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) practitioners in Malaysia. Division's director Dr Ramli Abd Ghani says the Ministry hopes that the Traditional and Complementary Bill will be tabled very soon, so that they can take disciplinary action against those who flout the law. The Act will also ensure that those who wish to pursue TCM must have diplomas or degrees before they are allowed to practice. Dr Ramli says the division is promoting voluntary registration of TCM practitioners in the country and 3,000 practitioners have registered. The Division has categorized traditional medicine into Malay, Chinese, Indian and homeopathy, while complementary medicine has been divided into four groups íV mind and body, biological, energy medicine and manipulative therapy.

Chinese medicine surveillance to increase
Macau Daily Times, 4 July 2011

The Health Bureau (SSM) said the professional registration system of Chinese medicine practitioners will be enhanced, following the alleged over-prescription of a herb that sent a woman to hospital. A middle-aged woman was overprescribed three grams of datura metel, one of the fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. Datura metel is listed as a toxic Chinese herbal medicine and if overused, could cause respiratory paralysis-led deaths. The bureau said it would enhance the professional registration system in order to increase the quality of related doctors and practitioners. A medical council is also going to be created so that a "unified exam system" will replace the existing accreditation system.

California acupuncturists help defeat SB628
Acupuncture Today, 7 July 2011

California officials voted against California bill SB628 that pushed to create a new Chinese medicine profession called "Traditional Chinese Medicine traumatologists," at a hearing held in Sacramento, Calif. The California Assembly Committee for Business, Professions and Consumer Protection had a final vote tally of: 4-Supporting; 4-Opposing; 1-Abstaining, according to the CSOMA who called the hearing a "passionate nail-biter." The bill introduced by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) has been strongly opposed by the California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA) who has been gathering supporters for months to defeat the bill, because they said it posed a variety of dangers to the profession.

More funds to support medical reform
China Daily, 12 July 2011

The Chinese central government has allocated another 18.4 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) to a subsidy fund to support the nation's medical reform, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced. The new fund has brought the total amount of subsidies allocated by the central government to 171.7 billion yuan so far this year. More than 4 billion yuan will be used to subsidize the purchase of medical equipment by county-level traditional Chinese medicine hospitals. Meanwhile, 3.4 billion yuan will be used to subsidize the medical costs of people in both urban and rural areas.

Kiwis set up medical centre in China
Stuff.co.nz, 13 July 2011

A New Zealand company has set up what is thought to be the first medical centre in China to treat disease using both Western and Chinese traditional medicine. International Medical Centres of Christchurch has joined with the Shanxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine to set up a clinic in the city of Taiyuan, about 400 kilometres northeast of Beijing. It will specialise in the treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, which are becoming an increasing burden on the Chinese health system. Patients will be able to seek advice from both Chinese and New Zealand experts. The clinic would also develop new ways to blend Western and Chinese traditional medicines.

A fishy business
China Daily, 13 July 2011

The fall from grace of "health godmother" Ma Yueling highlights the fraudulent practices of a number of self-declared health gurus. In early July, Nanjing's health supervisory authorities began investigating Ma for treating patients and giving prescriptions without a doctor's license. The sale of her books was also suspended. In response, the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) has tightened regulations for publishing health books. The new regulations require editors of health books and publishers to be more questioning. The administration further announced that among the 500-odd publishers in China, just 53 publishers are now qualified to issue health books. Also, the GAPP declared 24 health books would be suspended, including Ma's The Wisdom of Staying Healthy.

Toxic arsenic, lead in 6 herbal supplements, says Health Canada
Healthzone.ca, 13 July 2011

Six supposed all-natural herbal supplements are laced with dangerous ingredients and should be thrown away immediately, Health Canada says. The warnings join a long list of Health Canada alerts about foreign-made pills for weight-loss and erectile dysfunction that contain undeclared powerful prescription drugs. They are not sold in Canada, the health agency says, but can be bought online or overseas. All were subject to voluntary recall months ago after U.S., Australian and U.K. government warnings. The list includes X-Hero Male Enhancer, Natural Vigra Viagra Tablets and Black Ant; Slim Xtreme Herbal Slimming Capsule; (Hua Tuo Brand) Youzhi Baoying Dan; (Lee Sze) Texiao Houtong Wan; Prolonged Man Power Essence; and Beline Capsules.

US finds causes of obesity among young Chinese
China Daily, 14 July 2011

Many habits that are generally thought of as being healthy don't seem to prevent the rise of obesity among youth in China, according to a study conducted by the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC). The study, published in the July 2011 issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior, says that teenaged boys from well-off Chinese families who are physically active and eat plenty of vegetables but few sweets are more likely to be overweight. What the research team found runs counter to Western trends. The analysis was based on 9,023 questionnaires submitted by randomly selected middle school and high school students in seven of China's most populated urban areas. The American scholars examined how weight among Chinese adolescents relates to factors like sleep duration, physical activity, diet and general demographics.

Taiwanese rush to obtain 'dog day' treatment
Focus Taiwan News Channel, 14 July 2011

Taiwanese flooded Chinese medicine clinics in the first "dog days" on the lunar calendar, to obtain a traditional remedy in what is believed to be the prime time for treating illnesses that may have carried over from winter. Patients are encouraged to use the topical application "Sang-Fu-The" on July 14, July 24 and Aug. 13 this year because on the lunar calendar they are the three hottest days of 2011, according to Chinese medicine practitioners. Sang-Fu-Teh works best against allergy-related illnesses and is most effective on "dog days" as that is when people's qi (vital energy) peaks.

N Korea blames Chinese remedy for FIFA doping scandal
ABC News, 17 July 2011

North Korea says traditional Chinese medicine is to blame for the biggest case of doping in FIFA history. Another three North Korean footballers at the women's World Cup have tested positive for banned steroids, bringing the total in the squad caught up in the scandal to five. In a bizarre explanation for the failed drugs test, North Korean officials claim the steroids were accidentally taken with traditional Chinese medicines based on musk deer glands. The officials say the remedy was used to treat players who had been struck by lightning at a training camp in June. FIFA's chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak says it is the first time the substance has ever been discovered.

China inflation cops take aim at 'poor man's ginseng'
The Global and Mail, 18 July 2011

China's top economic planner has ordered merchants to sell Pilose Asiabell root, a herb known as "poor man's ginseng", at steep discounts to current market prices or face penalties. In the latest crackdown, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has told 10 merchants to sell their entire 200 tonne stock of Pilose Asiabell root at a maximum price of 60 yuan ($9.28) per kg before 21 July. That's 30 yuan per kg below the current market price. Another 44 merchants were separately told to sell their 800 tonne stock of the herb by December, without a specified price, the NDRC said in a statement. For Beijing, the chance that climbing inflation may stir social unrest and threaten its leadership means officials have no qualms about ignoring market forces, and stepping in to control prices.

Herbs shown to help Parkinson sufferers
China Daily, 21 July 2011

A clinical study by Hong Kong Baptist University has discovered what may prove a breakthrough in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. A traditional Chinese herbal prescription, that contains Uncaria Rhynchophylla (gou teng) as one of the major ingredients, has proven effective in treating Parkinson's disease and without the side effects prevalent in Western medication. The study shows that the prescription can relieve non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, such as depression, sleeping disorder, constipation and loss of appetite. Side effects caused by conventional levodopa treatment, such as nausea, hallucinations, and delusions, can also be eased. Patients' speaking abilities also showed improvement. The research team will start a larger-scale clinical study with a grant of HK$600,000 from the Food and Health Bureau.

Chinese village thrives on snake business
The China Post, 26 July 2011

A village in China's eastern Zhejiang province hides a deadly secret. Cobras, vipers and pythons are everywhere in Zisiqiao, aptly known as the snake village, where the reptiles are deliberately raised for use as food and in traditional medicine, bringing in millions of U.S. dollars to the villagers. Snakes are renowned for their medicinal properties in traditional Chinese medicine and are commonly drunk as soup or wine to boost immunity. With rising demand for snake products from restaurants and medicine halls due both to rising wealth and a government push for breeding the animals to be used in traditional medicine, Zisiqiao villagers are now boasting an annual income of hundreds of thousands of yuan per year.

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