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Expanding market demands international standards for TCM
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Banlangen Granules, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) made from the roots of woad, was recently authorized by the US National Institute of Health as a cold drug during a Global Antiviral Influenza Summit.

This confirmed TCM's attempt to penetrate the global market for cold cures, said an official from China's biggest Banlangen Company, Guangzhou Baiyunshan Hutchison Whampoa Company.

Zhong Nanshan, an academician of the Chinese Medical Association, indicated in his article "Introduction to Chinese Antiviral Treatment" during the summit that Banlangen Granules are a typical Traditional Chinese Medicine with a record of more than 2000 years of clinical application.

After the summit, Guangzhou Baiyunshan Hutchison Whampoa Company contracted for Banlangen testing with the US National Institute of Health. Over the coming year, the institute will provide advanced virus modeling to screen the drug's antivirus effectiveness.

"The European Medicine Access Standard is the main barrier against TCMs entering the global medicine market," said the Baiyunshan official. "This cooperation with America represents a first step for TCM in attempting to pass the American Medicine Access Standard, and not only for Banlangen."

In fact, more and more foreigners have turned to TCM, and many Chinese clinics can be seen in US and UK. Not only herbs, but also acupuncture and massage are growing in popularity.

According to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for the Import & Export of Medicine & Health Products, over 163 countries, including Germany, France, Span and Italy, had trade with China in TCMs in 2008.

However, TCMs in Western countries still sell principally as health products because they do not qualify as medicines. Herbal treatments from Japan and South Korea retain most of the TCM market in those countries since they provide quality certifications which meet international standards.

"Now we are drafting a set of TCM standards to provide Chinese medicine with the qualifications it needs to enter western markets" said the Baiyunshan official.

(China.org.cn by Wu Huanshu, April 13, 2009)

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