Traditional Chinese medicine will be promoted to play a more prominent role in the medical mix used to treat COVID-19, according to the National Medical Products Administration.
Zhao Junning, deputy director of the administration, said at a recent conference that TCM will play a key role in the management of COVID-19 this year, and that its approvals and evaluations would be streamlined to improve its development and international collaboration.
According to the administration, TCM has come a long way in terms of its inheritance and development in the past five years, during which many new TCMs were given market approval.
The administration has improved the supervision of TCM production in the past five years by establishing State-level standards. In collaboration with three central departments, including the National Forestry and Grassland Administration and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the administration released a set of national rules for TCM production in March last year. The rules define the whole-process management of TCM from planting, production, retailing and promotion.
Liu Qingquan, president of the Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said in a recent news conference that China has complemented its treatment of severe COVID-19 cases by utilizing TCM.
"We have prescriptions that have been passed down from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) and Qing Dynasty (1644 — 1911) to help COVID-19 patients relieve their fever and reduce the possibility of conditions becoming more severe," he said. "Those COVID-19 patients in critical condition, such as those with multiple organ failure, we treat them with tailored therapy with acupuncture and TCM decoction."
In January, the National Medical Products Administration released a notice to encourage the inheritance and innovative development of TCM by improving industry management and government supervision.
Under the notice, the administration will further regulate the processing, production, approval and import of TCM raw materials and products.
The notice also made clear the definitions of the pharmaceutical management of TCMs and follow-up management after they enter the market. Safety is highlighted in the notice, under which any illegal behaviors of producing or selling counterfeit medicines will be cracked down upon.