BEIJING -- China will upgrade its research and development (R&D) of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in 2011 by improving the systems for inheritance and innovation, according to a senior health official.
Wang Guoqiang, vice health minister and director of the State Administration of TCM (SATCM), made the remarks here Thursday at the annual national conference on traditional Chinese medicine.
In terms of inheritance, Wang urged efforts be made to establish databases of ancient traditional Chinese medicine publications, to study its basic theories and to conduct a general survey on TCM resources.
He also called for innovation in building a clinical R&D system, setting up key TCM labs, facilitating technology transfers into the industry and improving R&D management and quality control.
Wang also disclosed the following figures concerning the country's previous efforts in promoting traditional Chinese medicine:
In 2010, the SATCM accepted the registration of 400 important ancient traditional Chinese medicine books.
Besides providing inheritance studios for 181 TCM masters, the SATCM started a comprehensive service platform for the exchange of their clinical experiences and academic thoughts.
The first national level survey on traditional medicines of ethnic groups was also conducted last year, which identified 150 feature publications and 140 techniques for diagnosis and treatment.
In 2009, China spent 10.97 billion yuan supporting TCM, an increase of 165 percent over 2005.
From 2005 to 2009, the number of TCM hospitals grew 9.6 percent to 3,299 with 449,000 beds, 42.6 percent higher than 2005.
Wang also said that China would further develop traditional Chinese medicine amid the country's ongoing reform of the national health care system.
TCM generally refers to the comprehensive Chinese medical system based upon the body's balance and harmony. Among the components of TCM are acupuncture, diet, herbal and nutritional therapy, physical exercise, and remedial massage.
As a sign of the world's growing acceptance of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and moxibustion were inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity last November by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
TCM is widely used in China, and policy-makers are promoting traditional Chinese medicine to reduce burdensome medical costs and allow universal access to health care.
However, the share of traditional Chinese medicine in the global medical market, which is dominated by Western medicine, remains low.