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

Recall of lead-tainted proprietary Chinese medicine
info.gov.hk , 1 August 2013

The Department of Health instructed the registration holder of the proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm) Bak Foong Pills (registration number: HKP-11297), Hong Kong Medicine Manufactory, to recall from consumers one of its batches (batch number: PD12P2), as it has been found to contain excessive lead. The action was called for after a sample of the above pCm obtained in the routine market surveillance was found to contain about 1.8 times the permitted limit of lead. The product is used for relieving menstrual discomfort.

China’s latest product recall: tainted diplomas
blogs.wsj.com , 2 August 2013

A Sichuan province university is recalling its diplomas. Twice in recent months, graduates in the Class of ’13 at Chengdu University of TCM have been asked to return their diplomas to fix defects: faulty signatures. People who signed the diplomas were detained for alleged discipline violations. The school is one of the country’s most prestigious in traditional medicine, with an enrollment of 22,000 graduate and undergraduate students. It has also reported detention of a number of top officials on the school’s huge business side.

Tip-offs wanted regarding "qigong" master
Xinhua , 3 August 2013

The health inspection institute of Jiangxi Province called on to offer tips regarding suspected medical practices conducted by "qigong" master Wang Lin. The institute has set up two hotlines and an email address, and the public can also send tips through conventional mail. Whistle-blowers are requested to inform facts, materials or clues that help to investigate the case, an order from the State. Wang is reportedly in Hong Kong at the moment, as he has permanent resident status there.

China promotes TCM among elderly, children
Xinhua , 5 August 2013

China has decided to extend TCM in the nation's basic health care system in particular for elderly and children. The TCM health management service include an annual advice to elderly about dietary and daily schedule adjustment, sports and acupuncture points guidance. Parents with children under three should be taught various TCM massage methods so as to help apply on their babies. The service will be provided by village or township clinics and urban community health service centers. Each Chinese is also entitled to an average of RMB$30 in basic health care subsidies in 2013, up from RMB$25 last year.

Is China behind the threat to African wildlife?
People's Daily Online , 5 August 2013

It is a fact that Chinese people have a tradition of investing in precious materials to secure the value of their fortune. Some NGOs claim that this becomes one of the reasons behind the shrinking population of wild animals in Africa. An expert said it is due to a misunderstanding of TCM. In the past, Chinese doctors used animal products in medical treatment, but this has become increasingly rare. A strict system has been established for wild animal protection, and well-regulated artificial breeding is able to meet the demand for medicinal products.

Traditional Chinese herbal remedy implicated in cancers cases
newstrackindia.com , 8 August 2013

Scientists have used genome sequencing to prove that traditional Chinese herbal remedy, aristolochic acid, causes upper urinary tract cancers. The aristolochic acid is a plant compound contained in herbal remedies used to treat ailments like arthritis, gout and inflammation. The Johns Hopkins and Stony Brook team used whole-exome sequencing on 19 Taiwanese upper urinary tract cancer patients exposed to aristolochic acid, and seven patients with no suspected exposure to the toxin. They found an average of 753 mutations in each tumor from the toxin-exposed group compared with 91 in tumors from the non-exposed group. The findings have been published in Science Translational Medicine.

More Chinese pharmacies stop selling bear bile
Xinhua , 8 August 2013

Eight Chinese pharmacy chains announced that they have stopped selling bear bile products, as they joined a campaign launched by an animal charity to end controversial bear farming. The eight chains, with 151 drugstores in Chengdu issued the statement at an activity held by the Animals Asia Foundation (AAF). Overall, 260 drugstores of 11 chains in China have joined the AAF campaign to stop such sales. The eight local chains included Chengdu Dahua Pharmacy, Furong Grand Pharmacy and Chengdu Grand Pharmacy.

Health in focus at upcoming Chinese Medicine Fair ICMCM
Hktdc.com , 8 Aug 2013

About 140 exhibitors and 20 expert speakers will present the latest Chinese medicine and health products, solutions and intelligence at the 12th edition of the International Conference & Exhibition of the Modernization of Chinese Medicine & Health Products (ICMCM), 15-17 August. Jointly organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and the Modernized Chinese Medicine International Association (MCMIA), the event will take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Drug firms need new prescription for export success
China Daily , 9 August 2013

The overall slowdown in China's foreign trade is affecting the pharmaceutical industry. The first-half exports of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment increased 7.1 % to $25.14 billion, while imports reached $18.09 billion, up 15 %. The total foreign trade will edge up this year as emerging markets boom and traditional markets stabilize. Exports of traditional Chinese medicines and medical devices from the area have increased steadily over the past three years, reaching about $600 million in 2012.

Ginseng: the root of improving athletic performance?
running.competitor.com , 9 August 2013

Ginseng is one of the many herbal supplements that can be purchased readily as a whole root, a dried powder or a standardized extract. The most precise approach would be to use a standardized extract to ensure that you are getting an effective product. Products should be standardized to contain 4-5 % ginsenosides for Panax and American ginseng, and 0.5-1.0 % eleutherosides for Siberian ginseng. A daily intake of 100-300mg for 3-6 weeks is recommended to produce adaptogenic and energetic benefits.

Rochester alumni awarded scholarships to Chinese universities
rochester.edu , 9 August 2013

A scholarship program, sponsored by the China Scholarship Council and the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in New York, allows University of Rochester to nominate one candidate and up to two alternates for a semester or year of study at a Chinese university. Scholarship recipients are entitled to a tuition waiver, living allowance, and medical insurance and are responsible for their own travel expenses. The University is one of only 10 schools in the Northeast, including Harvard, MIT, Cornell and NYU, that offered these scholarships. One of the recipients Chin, a history and public health major, received the scholarship with the intent of studying the integration of TCM into modern medicine.

Owner ordered to demolish building
 China Daily , 13 August 2013

A former political adviser was ordered to demolish a villa he built. Zhang Biqing, the owner of the villa in Haidian district and head of a TCM chain, is required to demolish the structure within 15 days. The house, on top of a 26-story apartment building was built of rocks, decorated with trees and bushes and covers around 800 square meters. Neighbors have complained about damaging of pipes and walls, and at least two owners have moved. Officers said they had tried to contact Zhang about the building many times since March 2009 but failed.

Illegal placenta operation shut down in N China
China Daily , 15 August 2013

A county maternal and child healthcare center was punished for illegally selling placentas. The healthcare administration bureau received a report that the center was illegally selling human placentas. The bureau banned the operation, confiscated the illegal gains and fined the center RMB$10,000. According to TCM, placentas can help improve the immune system, slow aging process and cure impotence and infertility. However, due to health risk concerns, the Ministry of Health banned the trade of placenta in 2005.

How safe is traditional Chinese medicine for cancer treatment?
sg.news.yahoo.com , 17 August 2013

A popular misconception among cancer patients is that since TCM is all-natural, it is perfectly safe and complements conventional cancer treatment. However, potential drug and herb interactions may lead to negative or even dangerous effects. Mixing herbs with medication can cause adverse reactions, said by Mr Ricky Ang, Senior Pharmacist of National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS). The potential harm that can arise from combining Chinese herbs with cancer treatment may include liver toxicities and electrolyte disturbance.

Acupuncture fertility success with IVF revealed
healthcmi.com , 17 August 2013

Researchers have discovered that acupuncture increases live birth rates and pregnancy rates for women receiving in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments for infertility. A study investigated success rates by TCM differential diagnosis. They discovered that two types of diagnosis are more likely to respond with a higher success rate. Women diagnosed with either Kidney deficiency or Liver Qi stagnation have higher success rates than those diagnosed with phlegm dampness syndrome.

Government of Canada supports internationally trained acupuncturists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners
digitaljournal.com , 17 August 2013

The Government of Canada is helping internationally trained acupuncturists and TCM practitioners put their skills to work sooner, anywhere in Canada. The College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia has received close to $450,000 through the Foreign Credential Recognition Program to put in place pan-Canadian entry-level examinations for Canadian and internationally trained acupuncturists and TCM practitioners.

Acupuncture & herbs heal colitis
healthcmi.com , 19 August 2013

A research confirms that acupuncture and herbal medicine relieve chronic ulcerative colitis. The approach taken in the study was to combine an herbal enema with standard acupuncture therapy. The herbal enema was comprised of a Bai Tou Weng and Ku Shen decoction. A control group was given only sulfasalazine. The researchers discovered that the acupuncture combined with herbal medicine group had significantly better patient outcomes, and seldom had any side effects. This study was published in the Clinical Journal of Chinese Medicine.

Creighton expanding exchange program with Chinese
omaha.com , 21 August 2013

An exchange program between Creighton University and Hebei Medical University is expanding to include pharmacy and medical specialists. Since 2008, Creighton has sent groups of students and faculty members to the Chinese university. Nursing and occupational and physical therapy students and instructors consult with their Chinese counterparts, help treat patients, train rehabilitation workers and learn about TCM. Hebei Medical University has about 25,600 students and six affiliated hospitals with more than 4,500 inpatient beds.

TCM maker denies MHRA claim
Global Times , 22 August 2013

Tong Ren Tang Technologies Co. announced that it has never exported a medicine, called niu huang jie du pian (Ѭr), to UK and Sweden or sold it online, but they will further investigate the warning on the medicine issued by the UK's medicine regulator. The UK-based Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency warned that several dangerous and unlicensed TCMs contain high levels of heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. According to the China Food and Drug Administration, the medicine has got the regulatory approval.

Chinese herb & acupuncture clear ulcerative colitis
healthcmi.com , 24 August 2013

A Chinese herb is effective in resolving ulcerative colitis. The study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology that patients suffered from intractable ulcerative colitis and were unresponsive to conventional drug therapy, after use of the herbal medicine, 6 of the 7 patients in the study were able to completely discontinue the use of anti-inflammatory medications. Endoscopy and symptomatic responses showed everything from significant clinical improvements to a complete resolution of the condition.

1 million cockroaches flee China farm
iol.co.za , 25 August 2013

At least one million cockroaches have escaped a farm in China where they were being bred for use in traditional medicine. The facility is located in eastern Jiangsu province, and the cockroaches fled for surrounding cornfields. Disease control authorities have sent five investigators to the area to come up with a plan to stamp out the insects. By the time when the greenhouse was damaged, more than 1.5 million cockroaches had hatched and were being fed food including “fruits and biscuits” every day.

Space ginseng, anyone?
asianscientist.com , 26 August 2013

Ginseng, a herb with a long history in TCM, has made its first trip to space and back aboard the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft. Chinese scientists hope that this cosmic trip will lead to ginseng crop varieties with improved yields and added benefits. “We hope the space ginseng will be bigger, more resistant to disease and have increased medicinal potency,” said Zhou Hua, a professor at the Macau University of Science and Technology. It may take as many five years for the ginseng plants to mature, and six generations of cultivation to reveal any potential enhanced characteristics.

Healthcare service based on TCM set to start
China Daily , 27 August 2013

A healthcare service based on TCM, will soon be established, according to the nation's top TCM authority. More than 170 TCM institutions, guidelines, rules and standards will be formulated for the service. The project that initiated in 2007 will help standardize a number of TCM services across the country to prevent fraud. A new department would integrate examination centers at hospitals to give advice regarding TCM drugs or techniques, and favorable health insurance policies should be introduced to help the new service.

Eu Yan Sang Q4 profit falls 49 per cent to $4.7m
business.asiaone.com , 30 August 2013

Eu Yan Sang International registered a 49% fall to $4.7 million in net profit for the fourth quarter ended June 30 despite an 11% rise in revenue to $77.3 million. The fall in earnings was because of a 36% drop to $4.5 million in fair value gain on investment properties. Full-year revenue climbed 13% to $326.9 million, due to the good performance in Hong Kong and Malaysia as well as the full-year sales contribution from Australia.

Alternative veterinary medicine goes mainstream
Vancouver Sun , 30 August 2013

Pet owners are demanding quality in health care and food choices to help maintain their pets’ health. Pet food took the biggest share of pet-related retail sales in 2012 at 39% ($19.7 billion), followed by veterinarian services at 24%. The pet industry grew slightly above the GDP growth rates, rising at an average annual growth rate of 2.8% vs. 2.3% from 2007-12, totalling $50.5 billion in 2012 and is predicting the industry will have a 2.9% average annual growth rate, reaching nearly $58.2 billion in 2017. There is a place for alternative health practices, such as TCM, homoeopathy and chiropractic care.

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