The traditional Chinese medicine sector must step up efforts to set more industry standards for products and services in order to create better conditions for TCM and increase its global footprint, experts said.
Thanks to supportive policies, TCM is furthering development and increasing its overseas presence. Yet the lack of sufficient standards remains an issue for TCM to go global, they said.
According to a report issued during the recently-concluded 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the country will promote the preservation and innovative development of TCM.
China's master development plan for the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25) also calls for better use of TCM in disease prevention, treatment and patient rehabilitation while promoting innovative development of TCM as well as strengthening its global presence.
"Advancing work on the standardization of TCM is an urgent task for better development of the sector. Since the commercialization of TCM continues to progress, the development foundation of TCM can only be rooted in high standards and good quality," said Xu Zhiren, president of the China Medical Association of Minorities.
"Now is the best time for TCM to accelerate development thanks to government policy support and the standards system in the sector that is taking shape," Xu said, adding that he believes TCM will become increasingly popular worldwide.
The National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine said TCM has been practiced in more than 196 countries and regions so far, and China has signed cooperation agreements with more than 40 foreign governments and agencies regarding TCM.
As of September, a total of 75 TCM international exchange and cooperation bases, 30 overseas TCM centers and 31 national TCM service export bases had been established. Provisions on TCM have also been included in 16 free trade agreements, the administration said.
Liu Baoyan, chairman of the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies, said if TCM is combined with evidence-based research at large-population levels, analysis of the massive real-world data will add more development momentum to TCM, because TCM solutions are developed from clinical experiences.
Zhang Huamin, a researcher with the TCM institute of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, said domestic industry players should pay more attention to align with international standards when developing and producing products.
Zhang also suggested domestic players proactively cooperate with international organizations to form standards on technologies, terms, services and devices regarding TCM practice in order to strengthen China's voice in the global TCM industry.
The three experts made the remarks at a recent forum held by Chinanews.com. Experts participating in the forum also said the positive role of TCM in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic has increased international recognition of the traditional remedies Chinese people have been using for thousands of years.
That will inject new momentum into TCM's domestic and global development, they said.
Data from the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products showed that TCM exports surged 21.4 percent on a yearly basis to about $2.8 billion during the first half.
Among them, exports of patented TCM drugs soared 45.6 percent to $207 million during the period.