Misunderstanding and mistrust hindered Traditional Chinese Medicine from going abroad

Edit by Bo Peng

One of the most famous TCM pharmaceutical companies—The Foci Pharmaceutical Company(佛慈制药), based in the city of Lanzhou in Gansu province, is applying for the Swedish drug administration to authorize one of its products, a pill-form of concentrated Chinese angelica, According to China Daily.

This news gives some hope to some TCM Pharmaceutical Company located in china, which is now trying hard to export its best products into Euro and American markets. The Foci Pharmaceutical Company, founded in 1929, Shanghai, has a history of seventy-seven years. It is the one of the most famous brand in mainland China. In the last 30 years, Foci products had been exported mainly to the South-east Asia and Japan.

It is really hard for a TCM pharmaceutical company to get into EU markets, which is dominated by Western pharmaceutical companies. It is not because of the quality of products, but because of misunderstanding and lack of trust.

The EU rules dictate that traditional herbal medicines cannot be licensed unless they have been in use for 30 years and have experienced a 15 year presence in the EU market.

Besides, according to “Registration Process Order of Traditional Herbal Medicine”, released in March 2004, All Chinese pharmaceutical enterprises will have to retreat from the EU market if their patented medicinal products have not been registered in EU countries by April 2011.

So far, no Chinese firm has succeeded in obtaining a product license from an EU country.

Lack of understanding and trust make TCM hardly accepted by west countries. In US, TCM was considered a “dietary supplement,” which means it’s legally to use as medicine to treat diseases.

TCM is a totally different system in contrast with the west. It is based on Daoism and Confucian philosophical concepts of balance and unity of opposites (yin and yang). Illness is believed to result from an imbalance between interconnected organ systems. It has been developed and practiced independently in China for thousands of years and

“Back in the 1970s, TCM had no legal status, and most Western doctors were hostile to non-conventional medical practice,” John Scott, president of Golden Flower Chinese Herbs, said.

Founder of ChinaMed Group, Boller, believe TCM”is the overarching theory and for years, we have been promoting the fact that TCM is an essential part of Chinese culture,” Boller and his Chinese wife Wu are running 16 TCM clinics in nearly all major cities across Switzerland. They have fought a long and hard battle to gain acceptance for TCM.

One of my friends Joey like Chinese TCM, especially Chinese Tuna, also known as Chinese massage, he is now living in Manhattan, New York, he told me that Tuna make him very relaxed and energetic, he usually go to take an one-hour Chinese Tuna every Saturday.

The good news is that TCM theories have attracted more and more people from different countries to learn from it.

Maksim, from Russia, began to study acupuncture and massage at Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine in September last year, after two years ‘study in Heilongjiang University in Harbin. He became interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) at the age of 12, after hearing about some TCM theories such as health preservation and recuperation, According to Xinhua news agency.

Maksim gives a massage to a patient during his clinical practice in Harbin, the capital of Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province. (Photo by Xinhua)

Chinese government is also taking TCM as an important industry needed to be developed in the next few years. According to China Daily, China will upgrade its research and development (R&D) of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in 2011 by improving the systems for inheritance and innovation.

To gain a world-wide reputation, TCM still has a long way to go.

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