Read more detail and the original article at WHO official website: www.who.int/intellectualproperty/studies/Jia.pdf
Existing Challenges and Proposals for Conservation and Development of TCM
1. Incorrect policies and rules made by government to administer TCM due to making little of the theory and value of TCM.
TCM is gradually losing its characteristics and clinic advantages mainly from the misdirection of national policy.
Firstly, there is lack of practical standards to evaluate the safety, efficacy of TCM.
Secondly, the accessibility and efficacy of Chinese medicine have been limited as the evaluation procedure and norm are almost the same as chemical drugs. It isn’t fit for Chinese medicines to examine and ensure their quality by analyzing quantities of one or a few measurable components.
Current guidelines on new Chinese medicine have resulted in the decrease of pharmaceutical efficacy and plenty of effective Chinese patent medicines couldn’t obtain productive permission.
Price of Chinese patent medicines is tending upward and many Chinese patent medicines are increasingly disappearing because of low price.
Thirdly, researches on TCM theories are increasingly divorced from clinic practice and the frequency of using TCM against diseases gradually decreases in clinic.
Indigenous practitioners of TCM are not qualified to treat patients
Many indigenous TCM holders who have been respectable doctors for years lost their doctor’s qualifications because they haven’t the required educational experience.
So it is important to promote authorities’ understanding on TCM, and standards of diagnoses and treatments as well as examination and approval of new Chinese medicine should be set up.
Authorities should qualify excellent indigenous TCM holders to treat patients with traditional knowledge. And it is necessary for them to get more continuation training.
2. Endangered causes of wild animals and plants used in TCM, and proposal of ensuring sustainable supplies of natural produce for TCM
Chinese medicines are mostly based on the natural products that come from plants and animals, which are now decreasing due to environmental damage and pollution, population explosion, overspending, illegal trade of wild animals and the other reasons. There exist challenges in ensuring TCM sustainable development.
To guarantee TCM to have enough materials resources to use, the government, local community and the medical enterprises should strengthen the endangered wild species to be farmed and cultivated and tamed, for the complement alternation of herbal materials and artificial synthetic are not effective. At the same time, they should strengthen research of the domesticated species to adapt the wild environment to recover the wild population of the species and keep TCM herbal virtue and effectiveness. Controlling growing of Chinese population and decreasing the export of herbal materials to developed country are methods to ensure the rare and precious wildlife resources sustainable supply. Of course, the protection of environments is necessary, i.e. the natural reservation of wild species used in TCM should be established, and new medicine application should illuminate source of materials.
3. No good methods have been developed to protect traditional knowledge including TCM from being used without consent. Individuals and countries that have created and kept such knowledge could not benefit from it while the “biopiracy” frequently occurred in the developing areas.
It is now hard to effectively protect the intellectual property of TCM that would affirmatively disturb the normal manufacture and markets of TCM industry, weaken the potential advantages and the possibilities of enrichment offered by traditional knowledge. So it is therefore very important and urgent to develop effective regulation to protect intellectual property of TCM in more effective ways.
There are more than 10 forms for protecting intellectual property of TCM like trade secret, national secret, trademark, geographical indication, patent, protection and inspection of new medicine and so on.
In recent years Items of patent applications examined as well as certified of TCM rose fast. The rise of patent applications examined as well as certified of big and medium enterprises is stable.
Patent applications examined of state-owned enterprises are greatly going up too.
But the awareness of protecting intellectual property is still weak in China, and the function of current protection of intellectual property is limitative. The experts in intellectual property of TCM are badly needed.
So effective forms of protecting intellectual property of TCM should be developed like generalization movements, aiming at raising the general public awareness and abilities of protecting intellectual property of TCM, should be carried out.
It is suggested to establish an independent national commission of intellectual property of TCM that would improve and execute correlative laws.
Governments should attach importance to the experts of both TCM and intellectual property, and establish specific policy and regulatory issues for traditional medicines all over the world as well.
It is necessary to encourage innovations in TCM as the initial traditional knowledge is hard to be protected now.
It is also a practical measure to establish “Database of TCM knowledge”, service agencies of intellectual property of TCM and self-discipline organizations.
4. The existing evidence revealed a serious flaw in the educational system of TCM including textbooks, curriculum and faculty and so on because many graduates from TCM academies couldn’t master the essentials of TCM and employ TCM to treat patients.
TCM education has changed from apprentices-master training into academic education since 1956.
The existing education run lack of TCM character and make educational mode humdrum.
So authorities should emphasize the insistent use of TCM and improve the efficacy of TCM by reforming the current TCM educational system.
5. Some serious side effects and toxicity of Chinese medications occurred because many people including most doctors who don’t understood TCM enough haven’t used TCM following the theory of TCM.
It is considerable reasonable to say that herbal toxicity has something to do with the users instead of the herbs themselves. We don’t think it would resolve the toxicity of Chinese medication by only strengthening the herbal toxicological studies.
The important way to avoid toxicity of Chinese medication is to understand TCM theory as well as characteristics of Chinese herbs. The government should encourage mastering appropriate use of TCM by training and additional education.
6 Existing science and technology can hardly understand TCM because most of TCM knowledge exceeds the scope which modern science studies. But TCM is provided with characteristic and advantage to be used by modern society. And TCM would be understood and accepted better only after the modern science and technology develop further.
7. It is benefic for enhancing everyone’s health to spread TCM all over the world.
It is necessary to popularize TCM knowledge in order to let more and more people know the advantages and gradually accept it, and TCM will play a more important role to achieve the goal of WHO ‘Health for one’ all over the world’.
Read more and original article at WHO website: www.who.int/intellectualproperty/studies/Jia.pdf