An online regulation platform for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has opened in Anguo city, Hebei Province, the biggest TCM market in north China.
The platform, including third party approval of all medicine on the platform and transparent information on all drug producers, is sponsored by Tasly Holding Group, a pharmaceutical company in the nearby port city of Tianjin.
"TCM production has been industrialized, but illegal production and adulteration still damage the market," said Wang Guihua, secretary-general of China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Sold by weight and mostly processed from plants and animals parts, TCM ingredients are often altered by dubious means such as soaking them in salt water to increase their weight and mixing them with cheap but similar materials.
Most TCM products lack an acknowledged quality control standards, making foreign pharmaceutical companies and customers wary of the quality of products. Wang believes this to be the biggest obstacle to the full internationalization of the industry.
"It's about time to introduce a trustworthy quality regulation system to supervise every step of the production process," said Yan Xijun, CEO of Tasly Holding Group.
The new platform can guarantee access to information on over 60 major production bases. All the drugs posted on the platform have been tested by a third party organization, to ensure their safety, Yan said.
Traditional Chinese medicine is rarely a prescription medication in European and U.S. markets, but sold as food additives or health care products. However, meeting international standards has become more feasible in recent years.
Since 2010, more traditional Chinese medicine has completed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s clinical trails to prepare for the U.S. Market, including the Kanglaite (KLT), an anti-cancer drug with independent intellectual property rights.
"Our efforts are paying off. Our traceability system means our foreign customers can rest assured that our products are standardized," said Yan.