Campaign to Regulate TCM Material Market

Campaign to Regulate TCM Material Market

BEIJING - The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) has ordered a special crackdown on counterfeit materials used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as well as illegal actions such as artificial dyeing and weight-increasing.

The move was announced Tuesday by the administration as part of a six-month campaign to regulate the TCM materials market and ensure public health.

The administration has urged both regular and non-scheduled inspections for the TCM materials market as well as stricter management over the quality of TCM products and the licenses of sellers.

The campaign will also focus on illegal practices, including using cheaper materials, dyeing materials to make them look more appealing and artificially increasing the weight of these materials, which are usually sold by the kilogram.

According to the SFDA, violators will be warned and urged to rectify their practices. In serious cases, relevant markets will be forced to close.

The administration also urged local drug watchdogs to set up an effective mechanism to regulate the TCM material market once the campaign is over.

Last week, a joint proposal created by 14 government authorities was released to boost the development of TCM. The proposal includes a five-year period to establish a TCM trade and management system and a marketing strategy that is in line with the direction of the international market.

China will also encourage qualified TCM institutions and enterprises to set up overseas branches by establishing joint ventures with foreign companies. Ten TCM institutions are expected to establish such branches by 2015 in Southeast Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

In Taiwan, strict regulations on the manufacture and sales of such medicines have been put in place, and systems for certification of compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards have been established. Taiwan currently has more than 100 GMP-certified pharmaceutical companies that produce Chinese traditional remedies.

Strict measures are in place to ensure the safety of over-the-counter Chinese medicinal remedies (top) produced by GMP-certified pharmaceutical companies in Taiwan. (Photos by Huang Chung-hsin)

Taiwan can serve as a role model for the United Kingdom and play an important role in lifting the profile of traditional Chinese medicine in the Western world, as it has a high standard of TCM education and advanced production technology.  Tony Booker, president of the UK Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine, said that he was amazed by the high level of quality control in the production of TCM and the expertise of TCM practitioners in Taiwan.


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