Traditional Chinese medicine patients are set to pay more for their remedies this year because of dwindling herb supplies.
The prices of 262 frequently used herbs-- 52.4 percent of the key 500 herbs -- rose in the first half year, according to China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy (CATCMP) Monday.
The cost of several commonly used medicinal herbs had surged rapidly, such as the angelica, a blood tonic, up from 10 yuan (1.31 US dollars) to 60 yuan per kilogram, and one rare herb, saffron crocus, a remedy for gynecological ailments, rose from 5,000 yuan to 8,000 yuan a kilogram.
Besides paying more in drugstores, Chinese consumers will also pay more for prepared Chinese medicines, said Wang Ying, vice chairman of the CATCMP.
"With the rapid increase in agricultural product prices last year, many herb farmers switched to planting agricultural products," said Wang.
"Because of a lack of guiding information on demand and supply, farmers were unable to choose the right herbs to plant.
"In addition, the huge consumption of wild herbs also drove the price of herbs up, " Wang said.
Liu Yanhua, Vice Minister of Science and Technology, said, "The traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) related industry realized added-value of 112.769 billion yuan and exports of TCM-related products exceeded one billion yuan last year."
(Xinhua News Agency August 8, 2007)