Home > Current Events > Year 2012 April
A review of stories making the headlines.

Alarm bells sound on registration of Chinese medicine
Smh.com.au, 2 April 2012

From July 1, it will be mandatory for practitioners and students to be registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia, which will also manage complaints and disciplinary processes as well as assessing practitioners trained overseas who wish to practice in Australia. Registered individuals must commit to maintaining and developing their skills and spending at least 20 hours a year in training. They must also meet a minimum English language requirement and have professional indemnity cover to the value of at least $5 million in liability. The chairman of the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia, Charlie Xue, said they were set ¡§following extensive consultation with practitioners and other stakeholders¡¨'. The board has called on practitioners to apply promptly for registration to meet the deadline.

Standards 'too low' for Chinese medicine practitioners
The World Today, 3 April 2012

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) says the standard has been set too low for the registration of Chinese medicine practitioners. AMA president Steve Hambleton says the association wants the same standards held for Chinese medicine practitioners as doctors. Mr. Hambleton says there is also a concerning language barrier. Associate Professor Hubertus Jersmann from the University of Adelaide says while registration may reduce some illegal practices, it gives credibility to medicines that have not necessarily been proven. Professor Charlie Xue, the head of the new Chinese Medicine Board and the head of Health Sciences at RMIT University, says the point of regulation is not to boost credibility, but to ensure public safety, and that is definitely happening in Victoria, which has been registering Chinese medical practitioners for 10 years.

Chinese medics hail world¡¦s first lab-grown tiger¡¦s penis
News Biscuit, 6 April 2012

The world of alternative medicine took a major leap forward as scientists announced they had successfully created an artificial tiger¡¦s cock in their laboratories. Tiger¡¦s cock has been regarded as a powerful aphrodisiac amongst the superstitious elite for centuries. The technology is in its infancy, but Huang Lee who led the team of alternative microbiologists hopes to soon complete the rigorous clinical trials associated with fabricated cures. ¡§We¡¦ve registered ¡¥Tiagra¡¦ as a trade-name, and drawn a rampant big cat on the label, winking and pointing knowingly at his crotch,¡¨ demonstrated Lee, ¡§now we just need to see if it performs as expected.¡¨

Southeast Asian TCM brand Eu Yan Sang speeds up expansion in China
Crienglish.com, 7 April 2012

Eu Yan Sang International is speeding up its expansion in China after three years of efforts to get sufficient of its health food and products registered, said Richard Eu, chief executive officer of the company. ¡§Right now we have 16 stores in China, we are looking at close to 20 by the end of this financial year, which ends on June 30,¡¨ he said. Most of the retail outlets of Eu Yan Sang in China are not operating on retail pharmacy licenses, and cannot sell medicines, including even the company's own Chinese medicines. Instead, they sell mainly health food and other health products, including bird's nest and loose herbs, which can be sold without prescriptions.

San Francisco acupuncture college gets doctoral accreditation
Healthcmi.com, 9 April 2012

San Francisco acupuncture college, The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM), received accreditation by the ACAOM (Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) for its doctoral program in acupuncture and oriental medicine. The DAOM (Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) program supplements ACTCM¡¦s existing offering, the Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM). Other schools with ACAOM accreditation for the doctoral program are Bastyr University, the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine and the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. ACAOM accreditation of the ACTCM doctoral program helps students become eligible for federal financial aid.

Certain Chinese herbal medicines linked to types of cancer: study
Focus Taiwan, 10 April 2012

Chinese herbal medicine containing extracts of aristolochia acid (AA) increases people's chances of getting kidney cancer and a type of bladder cancer, according to a Taiwanese study published. AA extracts are found in plants of the aristolochia family, such as aristolochia debilis (Dutchman's pipe). The number of Taiwanese diagnosed with kidney or urothelial cancer is significantly higher, the study by National Taiwan University Hospital's (NTUH's) Department of Urology noted. Of the 151 kidney and urothelial cancer cases studied, metabolites from AA were found in 97 cases, moreover, AA caused specific mutations in a gene that suppresses tumor cell growth in 83% cases, according to Chen Chung-hsin, a doctor with the urology department.

Historic home is what docs ordered
The Standard, 12 April 2012

The Hong Kong Baptist University will launch a Chinese medicine clinic in a revitalized historic building. The HK$28 million Chinese Medicine and Healthcare Centre has the potential to become a cultural landmark and tourist attraction. Extensive rehabilitation work has been carried out over the past two years by the estates office to preserve the Lui Seng Chun building and its distinctive architectural features. The new center has three Chinese medicine consultation rooms, and acupuncture and massage therapy rooms that may accommodate around 80 patients daily. Acupuncture will cost HK$300 per session and bone-setting HK$380. Internships and training courses will be arranged for the school's Chinese medicine students and practitioners.

Chinese medicines contain traces of endangered animals
The Telegraph, 12 April 2012

A study of 15 samples seized by Australian border officials found that four contained either Asiatic black bear or Saiga antelope, both of which are illegal to trade under international law. The analysis also revealed that some samples contained potentially toxic plants, while others failed to list ingredients which could provoke a severe allergy, such as soy and nuts, on the packaging. Researchers from Murdoch University used DNA sequencing technology to identify the exact make-up of 15 of powders, tablets, capsules, flakes and herbal teas. Dr Michael Bunce, who led the study, said: ¡§the plants contain chemicals that can be toxic if the wrong dosage is taken, but none of them actually listed concentrations on the packaging.¡¨ The study published in the PLoS Genetics journal.

Sechelt acupuncturist reprimanded
Coastreporter.net, 14 April 2012

A Sechelt acupuncturist has been reprimanded by the province¡¦s licensing authority for complaints. A public notice issued by the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia said the investigation of Su Lan (Mary) Lee began after the organization received a public complaint. Lee was ordered to reimburse the complainant $365, other terms of the order include refraining from using the title of ¡§doctor,¡¨ paying a fine of $1,000, attending a course on professional responsibility and submitting to random audits by a inspector. Lee was also ordered to pay the costs of the investigation, approximately $1,082.

DOH aims to regulate 'folk medicine' practitioners
The China Post, 17 April 2012

Taiwan - the Department of Health (DOH) is working on a set of rules to regulate the practices of ¡§folk medicine chiropractors and physical therapist¡¨. The DOH hopes to separate practitioners of TCM from folk medicine chiropractors and masseurs and even practitioners of Chinese orthopedics. While the ¡§non-medical staff¡¨ may be allowed to remain on the premises, they will have to have separate entrances, will not be allowed to don ¡§white gowns,¡¨ and cannot claim disbursements from the National Health Insurance. They will also be prohibited from advertising the efficacy of their skills, concocting medicinal preparations, displaying and selling drugs and equipment. More than 100,000 people make a living by treating people with chiropractic, massage, spine manipulation, breathing, fire cupping and other skills, which the DOH groups under the designation ¡§traditional therapeutic and chiropractic skills¡¨ at present.

Chinese experts argue TCM toxicity
English.cri.cn, 17 April 2012

There is no need to worry about the toxicity of TCM, as the time-honored therapy is backed by developed theories and drug-making techniques. Zhou Chaofan, a researcher with the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, made the remarks in an interview about the recent Australian researchers' accusations that they found toxins, allergens and elements of endangered animals in some TCM products. He said that take Asarum and Ephedra for example, there has been a long history of using the two herbs. Guided by developed theories and using proper processing and drug matching techniques, doctors can accentuate their therapeutic efficacies and reduce the toxicity. Many traditional herbal medicines are mixtures of a number of ingredients, making them difficult to explain than Western drugs in a quantitative analysis.

Market set to be world's largest
China Daily, 18 April 2012

China will use more health products than United States in 2015, said by Meng Dongping, the vice-president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Medicines & Health Products. The industry will remain one of the most active foreign trading of the country, measured by both imports and exports. The value of the health products and services sector is expected to reach 450 billion yuan in 2015. Last year, more than 260 billion yuan in health foods alone were sold according to the authority. In 2011, China imported health products worth $145 million, up 62.28% from a year earlier, the most popular health products are calcium supplements, fish oil, lecithin, spirulina and compound vitamins. While $206 million in Chinese health products and services were exported, a number that was up by 114.96% from 2010. The majority of them sold to North America, Europe, Japan and South Korea.

China bans medicines formulated in toxic capsules
Inpharm.com, 17 April 2012

China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) has banned the sale of 13 medicines thought to be manufactured using contaminated gelatine capsules which could put patients' health at risk. The capsules used in the products are said to have been made using industrial rather than pharmaceutical-grade gelatin and as a result contain excessive levels of chromium. The products include 11 traditional Chinese medicines and two antibiotics. The capsules are reported to have been made at four factories in the Zhejiang region of China from gelatin derived from scrap leather. Chromium is used in the tanning process for leather, and repeated exposure to excess levels is linked to the development of cancer.

New association for good practice in TCM research
Asian Scientist, 18 April 2012

Scientists from Europe and China have officially launched a new association to research TCM. The new association, called the Good Practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine Research Association (GP-TCM), will help researchers to explore age-old remedies in the search for tomorrow¡¦s new drugs. It also hopes to further understand links between western and Chinese medicines. King¡¦s College London scientists Dr. Qihe Xu and Professor Peter Hylands were among 12 scientists from 7 countries and regions who were elected as Directors of the new Association.

Liquorice root could help treat diabetes, says study
Themalaysianinsider.com, 20 April 2012

BERLIN: a new German study has found that liquorice root may contain anti-diabetic properties. In addition to having anti-inflammatory properties, substances called amorfrutins from the plant¡¦s root were found to reduce blood sugar levels in mice. The study, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found the substance helped prevent the mice from developing a fatty liver and improved insulin resistance, leading scientists to suggest that liquorice root could be used in the treatment of complex metabolic disorders. Scientists point out that the concentration of amorfrutins in dried liquorice root is too low to be effective in sweets or tea.

TCM makers ignore patent protection
Peopledaily.com.cn, 23 April 2012

Scholars and practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) advocated for more protection of intellectual property rights in the TCM industry. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, only 0.3% of China's 10,943 patented TCM products are globally registered. According to Zhang Qingkui, a senior official at the State Intellectual Property Office, many Chinese TCM companies put little effort into the protection and registration of their products. They think patents are just for Western medicines, which has led to the loss of many opportunities, Zhang added.

Pain relief with PAP injections may last 100 times longer than a traditional acupuncture treatment
Medicalxpress.com, 23 April 2012

Scientists at the University of North Carolina have identified a new way to deliver long-lasting pain relief through an ancient medical practice. In an article published online Molecular Pain, UNC researchers describe how exploiting the molecular mechanism behind acupuncture resulted in six-day pain relief in animal models. They call this new therapeutic approach PAPupuncture. Principal investigator Mark J. Zylka said this is a promising study that moves his lab's work with prostatic acid phosphatase, known as PAP, towards translational research. Zylka said PAP could be applicable to any area where regional anesthesia is performed to treat pain. And PAP has the potential to last longer than a single injection of local anesthetic-the class of drugs used in regional anesthesia.

HK health chiefs appointed as International Collaboration Principal Advisers to SATCM, PRC
7th Space Interactive, 24 April 2012

Hong Kong - The State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SATCM) of China has appointed the Director of Health, Dr P Y Lam, and the Chairman of the Hospital Authority, Mr Anthony Wu, as its Chinese Medicine International Collaboration Principal Advisers. The appointment is for a term of five years. Dr Lam said that Hong Kong has been heavily engaged in international collaboration for the development of Chinese medicine, covering the safe, quality use and efficacious use of, as well as evidence-based practice of Chinese Medicine. Mr Wu said that the Hospital Authority has accumulated precious experience in managing Chinese medicine centers through ¡§tripartite collaboration¡¨.

Centers to promote TCM overseas
China Daily, 27 April 2012

China will build 10 traditional Chinese medicine trading centers worldwide by 2015 to develop TCM services in Southeast Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. Building trading centers was one of the eight key tasks, others include fostering TCM talents, supporting scientific innovations and developing a statistics system for TCM trade. According to the State Administration of TCM, the government departments have not only issued specific plans for the construction of the centers, but already carrying out market research and seeking support to start a special campaign for the centers. China has 36,000 institutes involved in TCM medical services, researching and training, 803,000 certificated TCM teachers and 15,000 people involved in new technology research and development of TCM.

Total recall of processed Radix Aconiti Lateralis
Info.gov.hk, 28 April 2012

Hong Kong - the Department of Health (DH) instructs a licensed Chinese herbal medicines wholesaler and retailer (CW & CR), Hip Wo Medicine Company Limited, to recall from consumers all batches of its processed Radix Aconiti Lateralis as it has been found contaminated by another Chinese herbal medicine, processed Radix Aconiti, both of which contains aconitum alkaloids. The recall follows the investigation of a case of death suspected to be related to aconitum alkaloid poisoning. ¡§While we have already alerted the various parties which have received the affected herbs, no other adverse report in relation to the affected herbs has been received by DH yet,¡¨ the spokesman remarked.

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