Home > Current Events > Year 2015 March
A review of stories making the headlines

Doctors warning over potentially fatal acupuncture risk
Heraldscotland.com, 1 March 2015

A 66-year-old man was diagnosed with a pneumothorax which can be fatal if left untreated. Doctors reporting the case in the Scottish Medical Journal say that while such potentially life-threatening complications of acupuncture are rare, the potential dangers are not being conveyed to patients. They have raised concerns that current advice leaflets on the therapy do not detail the serious side-effects and thus called for the introduction of improved information to outline the risks and advised when to seek medical help.

Traditional medicine enters UK market
Ecns.cn, 3 March 2015

The first traditional Chinese medicine to obtain market approval from the United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency can now be sold over the counter in the country. The medicine, Phynova Joint and Muscle Relief Tablets, was developed by Phynova Group, a life sciences company in Oxford, England. The company specializes in developing new medicines and registering them with the relevant authorities.

Canadian paleontologist helps crack turtle smuggling case
Digitaljournal.com, 6 March 2015

One container holding 945 turtle plastrons, 2454 turtle shells, 52 bags of turtle shell fragments and another container stuffed with 224 bags of fragments were sent unlawfully to an Ontario herbal supply company. Paleontologist Don Brinkman helped bring the investigation to a close after identifying five endangered turtle species and three endangered tortoise species. The company was fined nearly $19,000 and ordered to forfeit the cargo seized during the investigation.

Woman convicted for practice of Chinese medicine without registration
HKSAR Government, 9 March 2015

A 51-year-old woman was convicted and fined $5000 for the charge of practice of Chinese medicine without registration. The woman provided cupping therapy at a beauty center, and was arrested for suspected illegal practice of Chinese medicine. The maximum penalty of the offence is a fine of $100,000 and three years' imprisonment. Members of the public are strongly reminded that procedures conducted at beauty centres such as acupuncture and cupping may carry risks.

Acupuncture provides minimal benefits after study design bias is removed
Painmedicinenews.com , 10 March 2015

People with osteoarthritis receiving needle and laser acupuncture have negligible and short-lived effects compared with sham acupuncture or usual care, when they don't know what treatment they will be receiving, according to a study published in JAMA. The researchers and experts are touting the study's "Zelen design" for overcoming a bias that previous trials on the topic have included by randomizing patients before consent to participate has been sought.

Chinese medicine gets WHO recognition
Chinadaily.com.cn , 13 March 2015

The World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) has established an official relationship with the World Health Organization. The Beijing-based WFCMS is China's biggest non-governmental TCM organization, Li Zhenji, its vice-chairman said WFCMS will provide technical support to the WHO and cooperate with other non-governmental organizations to promote TCM, so it can better serve the health of people all over the world.

CBI arrests two poachers from Chhattisgarh
Zeenews.india.com , 14 March 2015

CBI arrested two alleged poachers from Chhattisgarh during the combing operations and also recovered huge cache of animal parts including tiger teeth, elephant tusks, tortoise shells etc. India being the home of rare wildlife like Tiger, Elephants, Rhinos, Leopard, Lion, is a major hub in the international illicit wildlife market which is estimated to be USD 12 billion a year. With porous Indo-Nepal and other borders, poachers manage to smuggle illicit wildlife products to south East Asia and China.

Traditional Chinese medical schools close down after failing to meet MQA regulation
Journalstar.com , 16 March 2015

Federation of Chinese Physicians and Acupuncturists Association of Malaysia says a number of TCM schools have closed for failing to meet the requirements of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). Federation president Ng Kok Poh said the Health Ministry should give a grace period of five to 10 years for schools to meet MQA's requirements in their courses. A grace period should also be given to traditional Chinese physicians and acupuncturists too.

TCM formula found effective against type 2 diabetes
Wantchinatimes.com , 16 March 2015

A team of researchers in Taiwan said that an ancient Chinese medicine known as Six-Flavor Rehmanni can help reduce the risk of kidney failure in patients with type 2 diabetes. The study used data from the National Health Insurance Research Database and examined the treatment of type 2 diabetes among 40,163 patients in Taiwan from 1997~2008. It was found that the risk of kidney failure was 31% lower than among those who had not taken the medicine, said by the head of the team.

Traditional Miao cures to boost health of Guizhou's economy
China Daily , 18 March 2015

Herbal medicines from the Miao ethnic group are going to be used to strengthen the economy of Guizhou province. In 2013, revenue from sales of Miao medicines in China reached 15 billion yuan, 90% of Miao medicines were discovered and developed in Guizhou. According to the government's plan, the total value of the new health and medical industry in Guizhou will exceed 80 billion yuan by 2017. There are more than 1,500 kinds of Miao medicines, and 165 are commonly used to treat illnesses from flu to leukemia.

Authorities busted a tiger-breeding ring led by politicians in China
Businessinsider.com , 18 March 2015

Three local politicians in China raised at least 11 endangered Siberian tigers, one of the animals jumped to its death from a high-rise building. Investigations revealed that the seven-month cub was being raised by a member of a municipal People's Congress. One of his fellow deputies helped him got two tigers from a third councillor, who had eight of the animals. All three have resigned and were each fined 3000 yuan for the "bad impact" of raising tigers without official permission, but not prosecuted.

Pangolin scales worth US$1m seized in HK from Nigerian shipment
Thestandard.com.hk , 20 March 2015

Two-tonne of pangolin scales have been seized by Hong Kong Customs in a bust worth more than US$1 million, on a shipping container from Nigeria. The scales of the protected anima are in demand for traditional Chinese medicine, which uses to boost virility and treat allergies. The skin is also used in fashion accessories in Asia and its meat is considered a delicacy in China and Vietnam. Trade in pangolins is banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Man discovers human-shaped kudzu vine that looks just like the Guardians of the Galaxy hero
Dailymail.co.uk , 25 March 2015

A Chinese man was out digging with a friend deep in the mountains in central China. He found a kudzu vine tuber which looks uncannily like Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy film. Kudzu's root, flower, and leaf have been used in traditional Chinese medicine since at least 200 BC. The herb is used to treat alcoholism and to reduce symptoms of a hangover, and also for heart and circulatory problems, upper respiratory problems and skin problems.

Cane toads by the million lined up for export to China as anti-cancer remedy
Theguardian.com , 26 March 2015

Australia's most hated pest, cane toads could soon prove an unlikely source of income. Researchers at the University of Queensland discovered that cane toad venom is effective in fighting cancer, with the potency rivalling that of toads found in Asia that are used in Chinese traditional medicine. The discovery opens up the possibility of sending millions of toads to China, where they would be systematically squeezed for their juices.

Ancient herbal remedy could treat depression better than conventional medicines, scientists claim
Mirror.co.uk , 27 March 2015

Roseroot has been used for centuries in Russia and Scandinavia to cope with the cold Siberian climate and stressful life. It could also treat depression better than conventional medicines, scientists have found. The findings, published in the journal Phytomedicine, suggest roseroot may possess a more favourable risk to benefit ratio for individuals with mild to moderate depression. Pennsylvania University called results preliminary but said the herb had potential.

Buyers beware on emerging e-commerce platform
Global Times , 27 April 2015

WeChat is one of China's most popular social media platforms, users are increasingly finding it crammed with promotions for various products by friends. Many sellers are part of pyramid scheme-type businesses. It has resulted in a public wary about quality problems associated with products sold via WeChat, and has raised concerns among experts over lax supervision of this new market. Facial masks are one of most popular products sold on WeChat, along with cosmetics, clothing, snacks and jewelry.

City of Pécs welcomes Confucius Institute
Bbj.hu , 27 March 2015

A Confucius Institute opened in Pécs, southwestern Hungary, that assists in promotion of traditional Chinese medicine at the local university's health science department. This is the first Confucius Institute in Hungary and the seventh in the world. The institute focuses on teaching and applying therapeutic methods rooted in Chinese medicine in combination with current academic methods.

Nursing students learn about traditional Chinese medicine on visit to Hong Kong
News.psu.edu , 30 March 2015

Through a reciprocal arrangement with The Chinese University of Hong Kong, six Penn State nursing students traveled to Hong Kong to learn about Chinese health care and nursing education. One of the trip's highlights was learning about traditional Chinese medicine. Besides the primer on traditional medicine, students learned much about how the Chinese health care system differs from the one in the United States.

TCM Act 2013 puts Dayak medicine practitioners at risk
Theborneopost.com , 31 March 2015

The traditional medicinal practice and customs of the Dayaks are at risk of getting into trouble if the Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) Act 2013 is to be fully implemented this year. An indigenous medicine practitioner said there are only six main fields of practice identified by the Ministry of Health. Practitioners from the Dayaks and others such as Kadazan Dusun and Orang Asli are not included, it seems their practice is an offence under this new act.

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