Home > Current Events > Year 2007 April
A review of stories making the headlines.

China risks uproar with threat to lift tiger trade ban
The Daily Telegraph (London), 7 April, 2007

Beijing believes selling parts of captive animals could protect wild population and is considering legalizing the sale of tiger parts, a traditional ingredient in some Chinese medicines, in the belief that a 1993 ban introduced in the 1990s to stop the poaching of wild tigers has failed. Some conservationists are advising the Chinese authorities that skins and bones from animals bred in captivity could supply the market, and thus help protect wild tigers from poachers, while other environmental groups say that it may have the reverse effect.

Hospital Serves Lethal Breakfast
24.com (South Africa), 10 April 2007

A porridge breakfast probably containing rat poison killed a 77-year-old patient and left over 200 other people ill at The Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Harbin. This institution is among the largest and best-equipped medical institutions in the provincial capital of Heilongjiang. The 202 other victims, who included patients, doctors and nurses, were in stable condition suffering from nausea and diarrhoea after eating the porridge at the hospital canteen.

GP suspended, TCM physician struck off rolls
The Straits Times (Singapore), 11 April 2007

TCM physician Zhong Zhili was struck off the rolls by the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board for lying about his qualifications. He was sentenced to four weeks in jail by a district court on Monday for submitting a fake graduation certificate, and lying to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board to obtain practicing licenses. He had forged a certificate to give the impression that he was a graduate of the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, when he was never even a student there.

TCM goes halal
Singapore News, 15 April 2007

TCM is gaining more popularity among Muslims here as more products get halal-certified. Halal means "permissible by Muslim law" in Arabic and foods have to be labelled halal in order for Muslims to eat them. A product is non-halal if it contains, for example, certain animal parts, or if alcohol is involved in the production process. In March, Science Arts, a Singaporean manufacturer of TCM products, obtained halal certification from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) for 19 products. These items, including lingzhi and bilberry capsules, are taken to treat conditions ranging from joint aches to high cholesterol and diabetes. Science Arts is the first maker of TCM products that has received the halal seal of approval from Muis. The certification is recognised by Muslims worldwide.

Chinese medicines pulled from shelf
The New Zealand Herald, 18 April 2007

Health authorities have stopped sales of five traditional Chinese medicines after they were found to contain undeclared prescription drugs for weight loss and erectile dysfunction. The products have been seized and removed from shelves after investigations by the Ministry of Health's medicine safety arm, Medsafe. One product, labelled Dai Dai Hua Jiao Nang, contained the weight-loss drug sibutramine. The drug can cause increased blood pressure and heart rates, and cannot be safely taken by those with conditions such as glaucoma, mental illness and severe liver or kidney problems. It can also interfere with some antidepressants and migraine treatments. Four products were found to contain erectile dysfunction medicine sildenafil, which is known to interfere with some heart medications and could prove fatal to some.

TCM offers hope of relief for cancer patients
The Business Times (Singapore), 21 April 2007

A recent study by researchers in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan has demonstrated that TCM can help ease the side effects of chemotherapy. Testing the herbs using modern Western scientific methods, one of the researchers, Dr Tony Mok Shu Kam, professor of clinical oncology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said, "A chemotherapy regimen can last a few months and many patients experience nausea, vomiting and fatigue. For some people, it can get quite bad." Dr Mok's study involved breast and colon cancer patients in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Traditional Chinese medicine may help prevent polycystic kidney disease
http://www.newkerala.com (India), 30 April 2007

A new study has found that a centuries old Chinese traditional medicine, Triptolide has the potential to stop cyst formation in polycystic kidney disease. Triptolide is derived from a Chinese medicinal herb named Lei Gong Teng, long used for chemotherapy, inflammation, and auto-immune diseases. The study was led by researcher Dr. Craig Crews of Yale University. Researchers used triptolide, with a less toxic concentration than that used in cancer chemotherapy trials, on mice which were bred to have a disease like human polycystic kidney disease. Researchers found that at that level, the compound markedly reduced cyst formation in the mice compared to genetically similar mice not taking the compound. The findings of the study were presented as part of the scientific program of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Compiled By:
Jennifer Eagleton, BA, MA (Asian Studies), Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.