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People's Daily Online>>China Business

First TCM medicine OK'd for EU market

By Cheng Yingqi  (China Daily)

13:33, April 19, 2012

Ninety-three-year-old Hu Yisong, a traditional Chinese medicine doctor, teaches a student from Pakistan how to distinguish TCM materials at a drugstore in Nantong, Jiangsu province, in March. [Photo / China Daily]

A Chinese traditional medicine has been authorized for sale in a European market for the first time, the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced on Wednesday.

Industry experts said the approval would lead the way for Chinese traditional medicine to enter the mainstream European market.

Di'ao Xin Xue Kang, a well-known herbal medicine produced by the Chengdu-based Di'ao Group, received marketing authorization from the Medicines Evaluation Board of the Netherlands, making it the first Chinese traditional drug to be identified as a therapeutic medicine in the European Union.

"This is an important step for TCM to enter mainstream markets of developed countries," Health Minister Chen Zhu said at a news conference organized by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing on Wednesday.

This first success was "proof that Chinese firms are capable of producing top-level medicines", he said.

Bai Chunli, president of Chinese Academy of Sciences, urged TCM research institutions to increase their focus on the European market now.

"As well as strengthening research, I hope they can also study the authorization requirements of different countries, so that more and more medicines will have access to the high-end market," he said.

Sang Guowei, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said that TCM could finally enter European "rightfully".

The certification of Di'ao Xin Xue Kang follows an EU ban on traditional Chinese medicine in May 2011, imposed to prevent unlicensed herbal medicines being sold as food supplements.

"This new authorization marks the first time that Chinese traditional medicine steps into the mainstream health market," said Zhang Boli, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and president of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences.

Zhang said another seven or eight Chinese TCM firms were trying to get access to the EU market.

"Maybe one or two of them will receive authorization next year. And this may lead to more applicants, as the influence of TCM expands on international market," he added.

Earlier reports said that the Guangzhou Qixing Pharmaceutical Company, the Foci Pharmaceutical Company in Lanzhou, and Tongrentang in Beijing are also striving for the EU market.

"The medicine is also the first herbal medicine that has entered the EU market from a country outside the EU member states," said Li Bogang, president of the Di'ao Group.

Li said the group took six years to obtain the certification from the Netherlands, although the medicine has been sold in China since 1988.

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