Home > Current Events > Year 2013 April
A review of stories making the headlines.

Ontario to start regulating traditional Chinese medicine, herbal remedies
ctvnews.ca, 31 March 2013

The College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario begins regulating TCM on April 1. The new rules make Ontario one of just two provinces in Canada to regulate TCM. The new regulations will ensure practitioners are penalized for inappropriate practice. The list of 49 offences of professional misconduct includes attempting to give treatment which requires knowledge practitioners do not have, abusing patients in a physical, ethical, or emotional manner and charging excessive fees. General offences such as operating without a license fall, a first time violation could result in a $25,000 fine and a year in prison.

Chinese herb may provide benefits in type II diabetes
asianscientist.com, 1 April 2013

A traditional Chinese pill could be a key weapon in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, found in a study led by The University of Queensland・s Dr. Sanjoy Paul and Peking University・s Professor Lilong Ji. Results showed that patients had a significant reduction in risk of hypoglycemia after 48 weeks compared with glibenclamide-only treatment. They were also less likely to experience other symptoms of diabetes, including fatigue, hunger, and palpitation. Paul said more studies were needed but the study results highlighted its potential to reduce the treatment gap and where herbal medicine is regularly used for basic health care.

Anticancer compounds found in bark extracts
separationsnow.com, 2 April 2013

Scientists have developed a screening procedure for identifying compounds in Chinese herbs that are active anticancer agents. Researchers from the Hubei University of Medicine introduced MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells and used them to identify the active compounds in the bark from Magnolia officinalis, which has been shown to have anticancer properties and inhibits cell growth in many types of cancer cells. Alongside that search, they also aimed to develop better ways to screen libraries of synthetic compounds and natural compound extracts.

Going under the needle
China Daily, 2 April 2013

China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing announced that its TCM might have found a cure for rhinitis, based on acupuncture practice and Western anatomical theories. Practitioners use specially made acupuncture needles to relax ganglions (mass of nerve cell bodies) in the neck, and to stimulate another ganglion around the nose at a frequency based on the severity of the patients' symptoms. The treatment is not entirely new, it is an improved version of a treatment that was applied to 130,000 rhinitis patients in the 1950s, a practitioner notes. The hospital has treated more than 100 patients with the method.

Chinese universities blocked from offering 258
Xinhua, 3 April 2013

A total of 258 degree programs that Chinese colleges and universities applied for authorization to offer students next academic year have been refused by the Ministry of Education. These programs, including global health studies and nursing of senior people, were planning to open by more than 60 colleges and universities nationwide. On the other hand, the Ministry has approved certain colleges to offer new programs, such as education and rehabilitation studies at East China Normal University, and traditional medicine of the Dai ethnicity at the Yunnan Traditional Chinese Medicine College.

Traditional medicine on slow climb towards global respect
macaubusinessdaily.com, 4 April 2013

A lack of comprehensive standards for TCM and its administration have been a major barrier to its global development, according to Zhou Li Gao, the director of the Cross-Strait Scientific Collaboration Centre for TCM, and without a clear standard, it is hard for TCM to compete worldwide. Even within China, the therapeutic effect of TCM can vary a lot depending on its manufacturing origin. The center launched an online news site that helps monitor the latest TCM regulations in China.

China health officials' TCM advice in flu fight draws fire
scmp.com, 5 April 2013

Mainland health officials have been criticized for suggesting TCM and other alternative treatments to help ward off bird flu. A TCM specialist said mainland doctors found several herbal therapies helpful in relieving patients' ailments during the fight against SARS and other flu outbreaks over the past decade. However, a challenge has been that every herb has a side effect, and prescriptions are often very sophisticated, with more than a dozen herbs needed for maximum effectiveness. He expressed concern that some misleading therapies proposed to fight the new bird flu could further damage the reputation of TCM on the mainland.

Salve the world
China Daily, 5 April 2013

TCM industry output was worth RMB$55 billion in 2011 and is expected to hit RMB$88 billion by 2017, with an annual growth rate of 12%. International drug makers have been exploring ways either joint ventures or co-development partnerships to use Western approaches to develop TCM drugs. Many have chosen to cooperate with Chinese academic research institutes, and Chinese companies have also been cooperating with research institutes overseas. The China government's reasserted recognition of TCM's value and potential is yet another important factor in popularizing TCM's international appeal and enhancing its acceptance.

Robert Downey, Jr. hits up China for "Iron Man 3" publicity
wetpaint.com, 6 April 2013

Robert Downey, Jr. stated during an on-stage panel that he lives :a very Chinese life in America.; Robert is an avid admirer of Chinese medicine (he frequents two traditional Chinese medical practitioners when at home) and also has mad respect for martial arts, and studies Wing Chun. But the interest doesn・t end there. Robert says he・s :made it [his] business; to pay attention to cultural happenings in China. As though he wasn・t naturally charming enough, Robert went on to address his fans in the Chinese dialect.

Acupuncture beats drugs for eye twitching
healthcmi.com, 7 April 2013

A study concludes that acupuncture is more effective than anticonvulsant drug therapy for the treatment of twitched of the eyelids. Acupuncture had over a 93% success rate for the treatment of blepharospasms whereas medications had a 75% success rate. Selected points in the study were LI4 (he gu), GB20 (feng chi), DU20 (bai hui), UB2 (zan zhu), TB23 (si zhu kong) and Ex-Hn5 (tai yang). Ah-shi point were added for local spasms of the orbicularis oculi muscles. One treatment per day and needle retention time was 30 minutes. The acupuncture group had a total of 46 randomly chosen patients of which 32 were completely cured.

China's tropical island plans medical tourism zone
Xinhua, 7 April 2013

The island province of Hainan has published a plan to build China's first special zone for medical tourism. Under the plan, the Boao Lecheng International Medical Travel Zone will be covered about 20 square km, which will feature health care centers, medical treatment and research. The zone will make use of TCM, the local tropical climate and world-class medical institutions the island aims to introduce. Construction is likely to cost up to RMB$100 billion. Visitors to the island exceeded 33 million in 2012, with travel revenues hitting RMB$37.9 billion.

Teaching hospital could have fixed ills of Hong Kong's Chinese medicine
scmp.com, 8 April 2013

Baptist University has proposed a Chinese medicine teaching hospital on a site, many patients and members of the public have expressed their support for the hospital, which would fulfil the need for holistic in-patient Chinese medical treatment in Hong Kong. The government, however, has proposed to rezone the land for a luxury residential development. Professor Lu Aiping, the dean of Chinese medicine at the Baptist University, says the government should support the establishment of a Chinese medicine teaching hospital, a much-needed project that would serve the long-term interests of Hong Kong.

TCM manufacturer loses production license
China Daily, 8 April 2013

Baoshantang Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, a maker of TCM based in Guangdong province, has lost its production license. The company was found to have used non-medicinal parts of wild honeysuckle flowers to produce the dry extract for the pills, and police have launched an investigation to determine the criminal responsibility of the company's executives and other employees. The pills are commonly used in the southern Chinese region to treat the flu and throat ailments, but the non-medicinal part of wild honeysuckle flowers might be toxic and harm.

TCM remedy sells out in H7N9-affected areas
China Daily, 9 April 2013

The most sought-after commodity in areas hit by the H7N9 flu outbreak is a RMB$10 ($1.60) herbal remedy, named indigowoad roots or banlangen, which has been selling out in stores across Shanghai and Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces. Daily supplies at pharmacies are being cleared within hours, and demand is so high that the government has imposed strict price restrictions to prevent profiteering. There are seven major producers of banlangen drugs in China, with Hutchison Whampoa Guangzhou Baiyunshan Chinese Medicine Co the largest, and about 60% of the market.

Swiss researchers advance :breathprinting; for health checks
gizmag.com, 11 April 2013

Traditional Chinese medicine has long analyzed breath as a way to assess human health. Swiss researchers at ETH Zurich and at the University Hospital Zurich are continuing to advance this field by developing a :breathprinting; technique using mass spectrometry.:Our goal is to develop breath analysis to the point where it becomes competitive with the established analysis of blood and urine;, said Malcolm Kohler, a professor at the University Hospital Zurich.

Clinic makes a point of hiring top acupuncturists
scmp.com, 15 April 2013

An acupuncture centre, run by the local Pok Oi Hospital and the Beijing-based World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies (WFAS), plans to hire three practitioners with internationally recognized qualifications. WFAS is authorized by the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine to administer qualifications testing for acupuncturists in Beijing as well as those practicing overseas. The non-governmental organization is investigating the possibility of offering training and examination in Hong Kong, in collaboration with local universities.

US signs $200 mln ginseng export deal with China
REUTERS, 15 April 2013

The U.S. state of Wisconsin signed a 10-year deal to export $200 million of ginseng to China. China has been importing American ginseng for more than 100 years, said Mei Qin, chairman of Tong Ren Tang Technologies Co Ltd. Wisconsin produces 95% of America's ginseng. Since U.S. demand for ginseng is low, Wisconsin is seeking to expand export markets for its ginseng, said Butch Weege, international marketing director for the company, and the state's ginseng exports mainly go to China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and other Asian countries except South Korea, which has an 800% import tariff.

Beijing hosts 10-day TCM program for 14 Asian countries' health officials
China Daily, 16 April 2013

Some 17 health officials from 14 Asian countries attend a 10-day TCM training program held by the Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission, and is sponsored and organized by Guang'anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. The program focuses on sharing China's experience in advancing TCM science, non-medicinal therapeutic techniques of TCM integrated with modern medicine and exploring efficient cooperative mechanisms among participating countries.

Experts urge regulations following TCM scandal
People・s Daily Online, 16 April 2013

Tight regulations need to be issued to control China's TCM sector, experts said. A mechanism should be established to measure the contents of TCM products and ensure their safety, said Luo Jiabo, dean of the Chinese Medicine College of Southern Medical University. A national standard for the amount of sulfur dioxide left on TCM products will soon be published, in an attempt to curb the abuse of sulfur in the industry following the scandal, according to the country's food and drug watchdog.

Popular Chinese medicine used for migraines could be FATAL, warn health watchdogs
Mail Online, 17 April 2013

Zheng Tian Wan is unregulated but is available in the UK, and it has been linked to serious health complications and death, health authorities say. The plant remedy contains aconite, a herb once dubbed the .Queen of Poisons・ by the ancient Greeks. The ingredient is on a UK list of restricted herbal ingredients and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency have issued a statement warning against using the product. They urge anyone who has taken Zheng Tian Wan, which is made by the Shenzhen 999 Chinese Medicine Investment Development Co, or any other aconite-containing product, to speak to their GP or healthcare professionals as soon as possible.

Chinese Patent Medicine Industry Report, 2012-2015
The Wall Street Journal, 18 April 2013

China's Chinese patent medicine industry has been running in good condition, with the revenue increasing from RMB 142 billion in 2008 to RMB 360 billion in 2012 at a CAGR of 26.2%. Over the same period, the total profit maintained a CAGR of 26.6%, and the gross margin remained higher than the average level of the overall pharmaceutical industry. The latest National Essential Drugs List increased the number of Chinese patent medicine from 102 to 203, and the proportion in total quantity from 33% to 39%. China's Chinese patent medicine market demand is expected to grow rapidly in the next five years.

Bring us your sick, your infirm
Global Times, 18 April 2013

Globally, medical tourism industry is booming. With an estimated 6 million people traveling to seek medical treatment each year, the medical tourism sector was estimated at $100 billion in 2012, and is growing at a rate of 20 to 30 % annually. Thailand, Singapore and India are leading the medical tourism market worldwide. Hainan Province published a plan to build a special zone for medical tourism, in attempting to attract overseas medical institutions as well as patients. Medical tourism at China is in its infancy, Government support, strategy and infrastructure building will all be necessary.

China health care a hot investment sector
gulfnews.com, 19 April 2013

Chinese fund managers have an upbeat outlook for the rest of 2013, and one of the sectors that will be increasingly attractive is health care and pharmaceuticals. In a break from the past, private hospitals have moved into the vision of foreign private equity investors as the government has now loosened its grip on the health infrastructure sector. Last year, China said foreigners could own 100% of a hospital, up from 70% ownership allowed in 2010. The government・s goal is to have 20% of the country・s hospital beds run by the private sector by 2015.

Traditional Chinese exercises and treatments boost the mind, soul and joints
onlineathens.com, 22 April 2013

Older Americans suffering from osteoarthritis may find help in ancient Chinese healing treatments and exercise. New studies by U.S. researchers are revealing the potential healing power of acupuncture, Tai Chi exercise and Qigong to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis that is the most common form of arthritis, and no current medicinal cure. Researchers realize more studies need to be done to incorporate Chinese exercise and healing practices into mainstream medicine in the U.S. But they are seeing hopeful signs.

Pingnan to accelerate medical reform
China Daily, 22 April 2013

Pingnan county has released its medical and health system reform plan for 2011-2015. According to the plan, more than 96% of urban residents would be covered by the medical insurance system and more than 98% of rural residents by the new rural cooperative medical insurance system; the proportion of their health expenditure would be lowered to 28%, and medical staff, including doctors and nurses, would reach 0.395%. The county will also encourage the use of TCM, that fiscal investment would be raised year by year.

Candidates take their medicine
The Star Online, 25 April 2013

Election candidates are turning to time-tested, traditional medicine to keep them going during the intense campaigning, made even more challenging by the sweltering heat and humid weather. TCM practitioner Liew Joon Leong said demand for yok choy (herbal plant), leong cha (herbal tea) and chrysanthemum tea had increased since the campaign period started. He recommended drinking a brew of ginseng, rock sugar and red dates for anyone who wanted a boost of energy and stamina. :Chrysanthemum tea may be useful in combatting fever while ginseng is an effective remedy for fatigue,; said Liew.

Hansen pulls shares on safety claims
Global Times, 26 April 2013

Shares of Hunan Hansen Pharmaceutical Co (Hansen) were suspended from trading after local media reported that one of the company's products might pose risks to health. Simotang, a TCM product developed and licensed by Hansen, lists areca nut extract as one of its ingredients. Areca nut was identified by the World Health Organization as a carcinogenic substance. Hansen issued statements that simotang complied with safety standards laid out by the China Food and Drug Administration and had never been linked to any adverse health risks. An insider from the company said that the amount of areca nut extract in the product was harmless and well below what national standards demand.

Hong Kong prescribes new dose of old Chinese medicine
mysinchew.com, 30 April 2013

Chinese medicine continues to thrive among Hong Kong's seven million residents, and a growing number of young university-trained practitioners are pioneering changes within the industry. The thousands years old practice was regulated in 1999 as the city eyed becoming a Chinese medicine trading hub, and the health department said the regulatory framework has helped "boost public confidence". Its popularity is growing, with imports of Chinese herbal medicines having reached HK$2.35 billion in 2011, up 37% from 2009. Health insurance plans often cover consultation costs at Chinese medicine centers.

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