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China considers enhanced support for ethnic minority medicine

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-19 14:53

BEIJING -- A draft Chinese law enhancing traditional Chinese medicine's (TCM) role in China's medical system will support ethnic minority medicine in the country.

According to the draft law, tabled for a third reading at the bimonthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, the state will enhance support, innovation, application and development, as well as professional training in ethnic minority medicine.

The state will step up the establishment of medical institutions practicing ethnic minority medicine and provide better training for practitioners, it said.

Ethnic autonomous regions should also create their own measures to develop local ethnic minority medicine in accordance with relevant laws, the draft said.

TCM has gained increasing global attention since Chinese pharmacist Tu Youyou was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her work using artemisinin to treat malaria.

Ethnic minority medicine is an important part of TCM. According to a white paper issued by the State Council Information Office this month, 60,000 TCM and ethnic minority medical drugs have been approved.

At the end of 2015, there were 3,966 TCM hospitals and 42,528 TCM clinics across the country, including 253 hospitals and 550 clinics specializing in ethnic minority medicine.

There has also been steady progress in the standardization of ethnic minority medicine, the white paper said.

Monday's draft also said China will protect TCM's intellectual property, adding that it will provide "special protection" for TCM formulas that are considered "state secrets."

It vowed enhanced supervision on the quality of TCM materials, banning the use of highly toxic pesticides during the planting of herbs.

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