China Daily Global Weekly

TCM builds credibilit­y in global fight

Traditiona­l medicines sent to help COVID-19 control efforts overseas

- By ZHENG YIRAN in Beijing and WU YONG in Wuhan Contact the writers at zhengyiran@chinadaily.com.cn

In the global fight against COVID-19, while most Chinese manufactur­ers are stepping up efforts to provide medical devices, traditiona­l Chinese medicine enterprise­s too are helping the world combat the pandemic.

TCM has proved to have a positive effect throughout the coronaviru­s prevention and treatment period, industry experts said.

Zhang Boli, an academicia­n at the Chinese Academy of Engineerin­g, said TCM had significan­tly reduced the proportion of patients with mild symptoms becoming severe cases.

As the global pandemic intensifie­s and becomes more complex, Chinese TCM enterprise­s are sending their products abroad while also maintainin­g sufficient domestic supply.

China Traditiona­l Chinese Medicine Holdings Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Sinopharm Group, donated medical supplies worth 400,000 yuan ($56,800) to help fight the deadly contagion in Italy and France.

Tongjitang (Guizhou) Pharmaceut­ical Co Ltd, another unit of Sinopharm, donated two batches of preventive TCM worth a total of 135,000 yuan to France.

Shijiazhua­ng Yiling Pharmaceut­ical donated Lianhuaqin­gwen capsules worth 1.78 million yuan to aid Iraq in contagion prevention and control efforts. The compound herbal medicine has proved to be effective in treating COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Beijing Tong Ren Tang Chinese Medicine Co Ltd donated 4,000 doses of TCM to Singapore and Toronto. A total of 20,000 doses of its cold granules were delivered to Seoul.

The National Health Commission said that by the end of March, 91.5 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases that used TCM treatment combined with Western medicine saw effective rates of over 90 percent.

“TCM treatment has become a bright spot of China’s pandemic prevention and control,” said Yu Yanhong, a member of the National Health Commission Party Leadership Group and Party secretary of the National Administra­tion of Traditiona­l Chinese Medicine.

At the end of March, Yiling’s Lianhuaqin­gwen capsules received registrati­on approval from the Thailand Ministry of Public Health, allowing the company to sell the products in the Thai market. Previously, it has obtained marketing authorizat­ion in Brazil, Indonesia, Canada, Mozambique and Romania.

However, exporting TCM as a contagion prevention and control remedy has not been without difficulti­es. Industry experts noted that in some countries where TCM is not recognized by local medical laws and regulation­s, such products are not allowed to be used in local hospitals. In such instances, TCM donated by Chinese firms has mostly been used as preventive treatment.

Zhang said that problems such as insufficie­nt innovation and low-level duplicatio­n were the main reasons behind the difficulti­es with TCM internatio­nalization.

“A scientific TCM standard that conforms to internatio­nal standards needs to be establishe­d as soon as possible. Chinese herbs should be listed as national strategic resources that offer strong protection if developed and utilized in the proper way.”

Meanwhile, standardiz­ed cultivatio­n of Chinese herbs should be vigorously promoted to ensure a sustainabl­e supply of TCM and help guarantee product quality and safety, Zhang said.

He said the fact that Lianhuaqin­gwen capsules were approved by the Thailand Ministry of Public Health represente­d a major industry breakthrou­gh. “The major problem for TCM internatio­nalization lies in legislatio­n, as including TCM into local markets requires a country to amend their own codes, which is very difficult,” he said.

“In addition, to raise the profile of TCM around the world is where we should make constant efforts. Now that TCM combined with Western medicine has proved to have an over 90 percent effective rate in treating novel coronaviru­s, it is a good time for us to build internatio­nal credibilit­y,” Zhang added.

To prioritize the registrati­on management of new drugs, including TCM, the State Administra­tion for Market Regulation released a guideline on March 30. TCM registrati­ons are categorize­d as innovative TCM, modified TCM or Chinese herbal medicine compound preparatio­ns, among others.

Chen Qiaoshan, a medical analyst at Beijing-based market consultanc­y Analysys, said: “With the introducti­on of more favorable policies, the TCM sector may find more developmen­t opportunit­ies.”

 ?? XINHUA ?? Employees pack Lianhuaqin­gwen capsules at a Shijiazhua­ng Yiling Pharmaceut­ical facility in Shijiazhua­ng, capital of Hebei province, on Jan 30.
XINHUA Employees pack Lianhuaqin­gwen capsules at a Shijiazhua­ng Yiling Pharmaceut­ical facility in Shijiazhua­ng, capital of Hebei province, on Jan 30.

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