China says it will further modernize traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the next 20 years to improve its appeal at home and overseas as an effective alternative to Western medicine.
The government will also work to form a healthcare system where TCM and western medicine complement each other and build TCM into an industry with an annual output value of 400 billion yuan (about US$52.6 billion), according to the China National Center for Biotechnology Development.
In modernizing TCM, efforts will be made to improve standards, study new applications and standardize planting, production and processing of medicinal herbs, according to the report of the center, which is under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
"China will work to make sure that a TCM-based health system serves as an important pillar to people's health, and a healthcare service is established through which 85 percent of the country's rural population have access to TCM," said the report, released at an international conference on bio-economy.
Currently, about 3,000 hospitals in China provide TCM treatments, with patient visits amounting to nearly 234 million each year.
(Xinhua News Agency June 28, 2007)