In the wake of some Western countries like Britain capping sales of traditional medicine imports from China, the country is now ramping up efforts to standardise production in the segment.
A little over two months ago, Britain’s Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency issued a notice ordering the country’s major Chinese medicine stores to provide details of their inventories.
Britain, like other countries, has fears over the dangerous use of pesticides in the cultivation of traditional medicinal herbs in China, and is expected to issue a ban on the sale of Chinese patent drugs in 2014, a point that was reported early in September.
Pesticide the key problem
However, according to the China TCM Association, and reported by the US-China Health Products Association, the government there is taking measures to address this problem by implementing a management programme for pesticide use.
“The Ministry of Agriculture is drafting un updated standard on pesticide use,” said Wang Weiquan, chairman of China TCM Association’s planting council.
“It has kicked off campaigns to promote safe use of pesticide on vegetables and special agriculture plants. CFDA [China Food and Drug Administration] is also highlighting safe pesticide use in its recent high-profile campaign on food and product safety.”
Industry taking action
The industry is also following suit, and in a move to further ease concerns over exports by Western countries, increasingly more traditional Chinese medicine producers are looking to bridge the gap in production standards by applying for certification from EU countries, said Wang.
“By applying for the Western standard, we try to prove that the level and standard of TCM planting in China is actually improving.
“For example, Chinese wolfberry is exported to Western countries in large quantities every year. And now Chinese wolfberry planted in Inner Mongolia and Qinghai has met the standard and won certificate from EU.”
Wang pointed out that Chinese planters were improving the performance in herb planting and quality control. “Nineteen kinds of pesticide that have been accused of being toxic are now gradually being managed out of herb production,” he said.
“As long as we can improve our quality control and make TCM safer, we will surely secure our share in the TCM market globally.”