Link the Ancient and the New, and Benefit All
--The Development of Tibetan Traditional Medicine Factory of Tibet Autonomous Reign
Manager of the Tibetan Pharmaceutical Factory of the Tibetan Autonomous Region
Tibetan medicine is a treasure of traditional Chinese medicines. It has abundant contents, complete scientific system and outstanding ethnical characteristics. It summerizes the experiences Tibetan ancestors got through the their long struggle against diseases in the harsh plateau environment and has a history of over 2,000 years. The predecessors of the Traditional Tibetan Medicine Pharmaceutical Factory were the Lhasa “School of Medicine and Astrology on Chags-po-ri Hill” established in 1696 and the Lhasa “Men-Tsee-Khang” (Medical & Astrological Institute) Tibetan medicine processing factory set up in 1916. After the peaceful liberation of Tibet, with the support of the Central Government, the factory was moved to its present site with expanded scale and renamed the “Traditional Tibetan Hospital Pharmaceutical Factory of Tibet Autonomous Region” in 1964. From then, the factory began a new era in its development.
In the beginning, the primary task of the factory was serving patients in the urban areas of Lhasa City. At that time, all the procedures of dosage, grinding, pelleting and packaging followed old practices, resulting in long manual operation, excessive consumption of labor force and .few products. With economic development and population growth, the demands for Tibetan medicines constantly increased. In order to meet the need of patients, workers of the pharmaceutical factory brainstormed and made concerted efforts in their shabby workshops to find a way to improve production capacity. They applied the dynamical principle of bicycles and introduced motors to transform existing equipment into semi-mechanized machines. In this way, they decreased costs and improved production efficiency.
China introduced the reform and opening-up policy in 1978, which brought unprecedented opportunities to all undertakings in Tibet; By taking advantage of this opportunity, Tibet medicines embarked on a fast lane of development. Our pharmaceutical factory abandoned outdated ideas and strive for greater development in the market economy with the concerted efforts of all the staff. Based on Tibet’s unique plant, animal and mineral resources, the factory has developed knockout Tibetan medicine products. We also gradually link the production of Tibetan medicine with the market, to generate larger industrial scale, and upgrade the production level. In 1994, the Central Government held its third meeting on the work of Tibet, which arranged increased support for Tibet, and mobilized organizations and units in other provinces and cities to support their counterparts in Tibet. As one of the aid partnership projects, Jiangsu province financed the rebuilding and expansion of the Traditional Tibetan Medicine Pharmaceutical Factory, transforming the old facility into a modern one, which has cozy environments, bright lighting and a reasonable layout.
Starting in 1997, we began to actively push forward the systematic reform of the pharmaceutical factory. Before that, the factory was a section of the Tibetan Medicine Hospital of Tibet Autonomous Region, and was a state-owned non- profitable non-governmental unit. It supplied medicines to the hospital for free, and got its funds and equipment from the hospital. After the reform, we registered the factory as an independent legal entity, separating it from the hospital in terms of personnel and finance, We began to keep separate accounts and assumed sole responsibility for our own profits or losses, marking a new ear in the factory’s development.
In recent years, the factory has depended upon technology to vigorously upgrade its facility, and realized the automation of pharmacy by means of computer technology.
Meanwhile, it made efforts to optimize the allocation of enterprise resources to make full use of limited personnel and facility, constantly improve processing techniques, and strengthen the on-site management of all processing procedures. In addition, it has implemented reverse cost accountings in the course of production to decrease costs and increase profits through effective management. In this way, it has improved both the outputs and quality of products.
With the implementation of the new Law on the Administration of Medicines, Tibetan medicine market is facing new opportunities and challenges. Amid its marketing efforts, the pharmaceutical factory has attached much importance to increase brand awareness and vigorously promoting the factory’s own brand “Ganlu Tibetan Medicine”, so that more people know Tibetan medicines. Now, the factory has established representative offices in more than 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and formed a relatively mature sales network, laying a solid foundation for establishing presence and marketing offices outside Tibet. At the same time, we have also extended sales of Tibetan medicines to Russia, Mongolia and other countries, drawing invaluable experience for further promoting Tibetan medicine worldwide. In recent years, sales have seen leapfrog growth. While franchising dealers in each province, the factory has itself or urged provincial franchisees to develop second-level or third-level hospital clients and OTC markets, widening its sales channels.
Now, the “Ganlu” Tibetan medicines produced by the Traditional Tibeten Medicine Pharmaceutical Factory have gained great reputation for its traditional prescriptions, quality materials, excellent techniques and magic healing power. Through unswerving efforts, the factory excels as a traditional Tibetan medicine producer with the longest history, most advanced equipment, greatest technological strength and the largest scale in China, attracting numerous partnerships nationwide. At present, our factory has developed from a manual workshop staffed with a dozen people into a modern pharmaceutical factory which covers a total area of 40,000 square meters and a construction area of 15,000 square meters. It is now staffed with nearly 400 people, produces 365 kinds of products, and has a total assets of 180 million yuan. According to incomplete statistics, the factory has spent more than 100 million yuan in providing free medical treatment or discounted medicines for the Tibetan people. This has greatly relieved the burden of farmers and herdsmen and made great contributions to the political stabilization, economic growth and social progress in Tibet.
In the future, we will continue to grow the corporation and upgrade its product quality. By making full use of existing resources and formula techniques and retaining traditional prescriptions, we will develop modern types of Tibetan medicines to meet the market demand by using the basic theory of Tibetan medicine as a guidance to select and assess quality medicines. First, we will develop products orientated to the global market and promote sci-tech industrialization in the industry, so as to advance Tibetan medicine, a most characteristic traditional industry, on the path of modernization and internationalization, and improve its international competitiveness; secondly, we will cultivate new types of Tibetan medicine talents, including academic leaders with knowledge of multiple knowledge backgrounds, advanced managerial talents, specialized talents familiar with laws and regulations on patents and medicine registrations both at home and abroad, to meet the requirement of high-tech industrialization of the enterprise; thirdly, we will enlarge our industrial scale, explore more applied areas for Tibetan medicine, optimize the allocation of advantageous resources and strive for scale production and the establish of a group corporation. We have started some projects, such as the medical material growing bases in Lhasa and Nyingchi, with the pattern of “company + farming households + bases”, and the project has fared well.
Achievements are merely recognition of past efforts, and there is still a long way ahead. But we are convinced that with the persistent efforts of generations engaged in Tibetan medicine, the Tibetan medicine culture, which has a history of over 2,000 years, will surely shine and show more vitality.