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

Hospital mulls expanding TCM home delivery
Global Times, 3 September 2012

A local hospital in Shanghai is considering expanding its free TCM delivery service to reduce the patientsˇ¦ waiting time for their prescriptions. Yueyang Hospital began earlier this year offering to deliver TCM prescriptions to patients' homes in the city. Unlike those pharmacies in Western hospital, patients sometimes have to wait hours for the pharmacies to prepare their TCM prescriptions. A patient just needs to fill out an address form and submit a prescription, the medicine usually shows up at his or her home the following day.

Making a killing on herbal medicine
Chinadigitaltimes.net, 5 September 2012

Caterpillar fungus is declining due to over-harvesting, market prices have been steadily increasing. Last year, caterpillar fungus fetched between 120,000 to 160,000 yuan per kilogram and the price has jumped by roughly 30% this year. People including nomads and gatherers say the prices merely reflect a countdown to the extinction. Due to the widespread collection of the caterpillar fungus, it has already created an ecological crisis. Digging up one fungus will disturb at least thirty square meters of soil. If the harvest lasts 50 days, an individual collecting 20 fungi a day will break up tens of square meters of soil, and over a year millions of square meters of alpine meadows are damaged, a specialist said.

China allows cultivated ginseng in food
English.eastday.com, 6 September 2012

China's Ministry of Health has allowed cultivated ginseng to be used in food products across the nation. Changbai Mountain in Jilin accounts for 85% of China's ginseng production and 70% of the world's total output. More than 98% of ginseng in Jilin is currently cultivated, not grown in the wild. Though China's health authority had previously restricted the use of the plant to medicines only, people like to use ginseng as an ingredient in chicken porridge, soup recipes or soaked it in liquor. More and more enterprises have sensed business opportunities and started to invest in Jilin since the province was made the pilot location for adding ginseng to food products.

GSK to develop traditional Chinese medicine
China Daily, 7 September 2012

Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline will open a new research unit in China to look at TCM. Innovative TCM will be one of GSK's R&D programs in China, aiming to transform TCM from an experience-based practice to evidence-based medicines through innovation and differentiation. Zang Jingwu, senior vice president said the unit will work with academic TCM experts in China to develop new TCM products for the benefits of patients. The strategy is to integrate the existing TCM knowledge of diseases with modern drug discovery technology and clinical trial methodology.

Branch of city TCM supplier suspended
English.eastday.com, 10 September 2012

Twelve medicine companies are investigated for such violations as dying Chinese herbs, using industrial chemicals to add weight and mixing counterfeit ingredients into TCM. The branch of Shanghai Yaofang Pharmaceutical Co was ordered to suspend production along with other seven Anhui companies for the most serious violations, according to Anhui Province Food and Drug Administration. Eight companies were found using auramine O, an industrial dye for Chinese herbs, and using aluminum salt and magnesium salt to make TCM materials heavier. Counterfeit substances also were found in their products. National authorities have ordered the regional FDA to tighten the supervision on TCM production and sales.

China to expand grass-roots TCM service
China Daily, 11 September 2012

The Chinese government is going to improve TCM services among health institutions at grass-roots levels. ˇ§The grass roots form the main ground for TCM services as well as the foundation on which the development of TCM relies,ˇ¨ Wang Guoqiang, the countryˇ¦s vice minister of health said. Figures show that 75.6 % of community health service centers and 66.5% of those at village and town levels provide TCM services, but the service quality has much room to improve. As the main goal for the campaign, the country aspires to complete a TCM network that consists mainly of grass-roots health institutions specializing in or providing TCM services by 2015. In other words, at least 95% of community health centers and 90% of those at village and town levels should be able to provide TCM, with the expectations that such capacity should basically meet the demand of both urban and rural residents.

New research into medicinal Chinese mushroom offers hope to cancer sufferers
Examiner.com, 11 September 2012

Researchers have announced astonishingly positive results from a study into the effects of a traditional Chinese medicinal mushroom compound in the treatment of cancer. The results were reported in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, with entitled ˇ§Single Agent Polysaccharopeptide Delays Metastases and Improves Survival in Naturally Occurring Haemangiosarcomaˇ¨. Dogs with haemangiosarcoma that were treated with a compound derived from the Coriolus versicolor mushroom had the longest survival times ever reported for dogs with the disease. These promising findings offer hope that the compound may one day offer cancer patients - human and canine alike - a viable alternative or complementary treatment to traditional chemotherapies.

Acupuncture is effective for chronic pain
Inquisitr.com, 11 September 2012

A large study conducted by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute has concluded that acupuncture is an effective treatment regimen for chronic pain. Researchers reviewed 29 previous clinical studies involving nearly 18,000 patients to reach that conclusion. The findings indicated that patients experienced relief of chronic pain in the back, neck, and shoulders as well as a lessening of discomfort caused by osteoarthritis and headaches. The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, concludes that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option.

Foundation supports use of TCM
China Daily, 19 September 2012

A Beijing foundation has sponsored the compilation of a book on the use of TCM and will distribute 650,000 copies to healthcare centers in villages. The book categorizes TCM according to their use in treating more than 120 diseases, about the dosages, indications and contraindications. Zhang Boli, chief compiler of the book, said that many grassroots medical professionals haven't been educated systematically on the use of TCM, while about 70% of TCM prescriptions are prescribed by doctors of modern medicines, as a result, it is very important to let them know how to use TCMs.ˇ¨

Singapore to allow sale of Chinese medicine containing berberine
Channelnewsasia.com, 22 September 2012

From January 1, 2013, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) will allow the sale of Chinese proprietary medicines (CPM) containing berberine in Singapore. Berberine is an alkaloid naturally present in some herbs such as Rhizoma coptidis and Cortex phellodendri, and used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The HSA, together with its expert committees, has been monitoring the situation and conducting ongoing scientific reviews on the safety profile of berberine. The latest review conducted by the Berberine Expert Panel indicates that there are no major safety concerns when berberine is used appropriately. However, it should still be avoided in infants, G6PD-deficient individuals of all ages, pregnant and breastfeeding women. Some physicians have hailed the authorities' move to lift the ban.

Health tourism can be a dose of good medicine
China Daily, 24 September 2012

An aging population and rising incomes have increased the demand for medical and healthcare products and services throughout China. Medical tourism has become a boom industry not only in China, but the whole of Asia, mainly because of the emergence of new wealth in the region. Some medical service companies in China are making efforts to keep patients at home. For example, a leading private healthcare agency set up wellness club. Membership services include free, extensive health checkups, tailored health management guidance, private doctors and overseas medical tourism services. Its clients, currently numbering around 50, are all Chinese and pay at least 120,000 yuan for a year's membership and around 3 million yuan for life membership.

Islamic medicine included in Traditional and Complementary Medicine Bill 2012
Thestar.com.my, 24 September 2012

The Health Ministry has agreed to include Islamic medicine practices in the Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) Bill 2012. Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said his ministry, with the cooperation of Jakim, would be monitoring the registration process for Islamic and Malay, Chinese and Indian TCM practitioners through a council that would be set up. He said practitioners who failed to register themselves could face a jail term of up to two years and a fine of RM30,000 to RM50,000. Liow said nearly 15,000 TCM practitioners would not escape stern action if found to have cheated patients or have contravened the law. The Health Ministry had also launched a national policy on TCM, that TCM would be practised together with modern medicine and to be integrated in the national healthcare system.

Australia opens up to the secrets of Chinese medicine
Xinhuanet.com, 28 September 2012

In July, TCM practitioners joined Australia's national registration and accreditation scheme under the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA). TCM has been recognized as a health profession and accredited practice in Australia under the encompassing term ˇ§complementary and alternative medicineˇ¨ (CAM), referring to those who practice acupuncture, Chinese medical diagnosis and Chinese herbal dispensing will be included for registration. The rush to harness the power of TCM is driving research across Australian universities and has built a bridge between institutions committed to furthering the science of healing. For example, researchers from the University of Adelaide are seeking to unlock how TCM affects the human body in an effort to integrate it with Western medicine.

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