International Quality Standards for Traditional Chinese Medicines

On September 25, 2003, the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) was founded in Beijing, China to promote traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) worldwide. The organization will establish a means by which TCMs can be monitored internationally in order to ensure high product quality. The previous lack of quality standards for TCMs has been attributed to the lesser usage of this type of medication worldwide. With the WFCMS and the establishment of globally accepted international standards, it is expected that the use of TCMs will increase dramatically throughout the world.

The new TCM organization will be headquartered in Beijing, and through the endorsement of participating TCM organizations worldwide, will have the legal authority to set and spread international standards for TCMs. Besides developing quality standards, the WFCMS will also encourage research and development of TCMs in the academic sector. Over 150 representatives from 118 TCM communities and organizations from over 43 countries attended the conference which announced the establishment of the WFCMS.

TCMs have been used in China for thousands of years to improve health and treat ailments. Recently, TCMs were consumed extensively in China to prevent the spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic. In Africa, studies are being conducted on TCMs in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Professor Wang Jian, Director of the AIDS Department at the Institute of Basic Theory in the China Academy of TCM said, “One of the major advantages of the TCM compared with Western medicines is that the TCM is neutral and cheap. The research and development of TCM on HIV/AIDS will make a great contribution to the developing countries in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”