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TCM, western medicine blend


Government, industry, academia and research support the application of traditional medicine in modern treatment.


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is attracting attention across the world and there are many moves to integrate the field with western medicine.

Promoting the integration of TCM into modern medical applications through government, industry, academia and research efforts has become an important issue in the industry.

The fourth Asia Summit on Global Health (ASGH), organised by the Hong Kong SAR Government and Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), brought together more than 80 business leaders and investors in international scientific research and medicine from the global healthcare industry. Health-focused government officials and organisations and other representatives discussed in-depth, forward-looking issues.

The forum also featured thematic panel discussions, including one on the Application of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Modern Medical Treatment.

To meet the needs of modern medical treatment, the Hong Kong SAR government has been committed to promoting the integration of Chinese and Western medicine through collaboration between government, industry, academia and research bodies. The Chinese Medicine Hospital under construction by the Hong Kong SAR Government is a government project operated under a public-private partnership model, with the Hong Kong Baptist University as an undertaking organisation and HKBU Chinese Medicine Hospital Co, Ltd as the operating organisation.

The panel discussion was moderated by Professor Bian Zhaoxiang, Chief Executive Officer of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital and President of the Centre for Traditional Chinese Medicine Innovation Research and Development, who pointed out that Hong Kong’s first TCM hospital will be completed next year and will be put into service in phases.

Integrating TCM into Hong Kong's Western medicine medical system is the key to promoting the development of Chinese and Western medicine in Hong Kong.

Dr Arthur Lau, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Western Medicine) of the Hong Kong Chinese Medicine Hospital, discussed developments in Chinese medicine hospitals. He pointed out that TCM hospitals operated by Hong Kong Baptist University do not have emergency rooms and will not provide major surgeries, but the hospital is equipped with advanced equipment and instruments for rehabilitation and palliative care.

“Traditional Chinese medicine is mainly based on traditional Chinese medicine, supplemented by western medicine. We hope to establish a model of integrating traditional Chinese and western medicine, and secondly, train and educate talents through traditional Chinese medicine hospitals, promoting Chinese medicine, in other words, we are a bit like a teaching hospital.”

Professor Feng Yibin, Director of the School of Chinese Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, also analysed the development of Chinese medicine in Hong Kong from the perspective of education. Chinese medicine schools were confined to the University of Hong Kong, Baptist University and Chinese University of Hong Kong, he pointed out, but outstanding Chinese medicine practitioners can practice overseas.

He said: “Hong Kong's Chinese medicine students are proficient in biliteracy and are trilingual. Students who graduate from the Hong Kong School of Chinese Medicine have not only traditional Chinese medicine knowledge and western medicine knowledge, but also have international perspectives. Previously TCM practitioners in Hong Kong came from the mainland or overseas, but now Hong Kong students can practice in the mainland.”

The industry has been committed to promoting TCM from the perspective of industry, academia and research. Wu Jianjun, Chairman of China Resources Pharmaceutical Commercial Group, pointed out that the group always paid attention to development of the overall health sector. He believes that to promote TCM development in an orderly manner, we need to start from the source.

“We need to control the quality of Chinese medicinal materials, not only to ensure the supply of high-quality Chinese medicinal materials, but also to reduce price fluctuations of Chinese medicinal materials by monitoring the supply and demand situation.”

Xu Liming, CEO of Sichuan New Green Pharmaceutical Technology Development Co, Ltd, which produces TCM formula granules, emphasised that monitoring the planting and harvesting of TCM ingredients from source to the preparation of formula granules will help create a full industry chain service system.

He said: “Formulated granules are a symbol of the modernisation of TCM. To internationalise TCM, the production process of TCM is inseparable from production standardisation in the industry. For this reason, the company attaches special importance to development of smart agriculture and improves the standardised management of planting. Provides guarantees for the quality of TCM materials.”

Professor Xu Hongxi, Honorary Dean, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, pointed out that there are more than 50 important TCM centres in Asia, Africa, South America and other places, and 29 countries and regions around the world have legislated to recognise TCM.

He said: “Chinese medicine has become a research field. More and more experts, professors and even university scholars from all over the world want to participate in research on Chinese medicine. This has promoted the development of the field in industry, academia and research.”

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