Following is a speech by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Dr E K Yeoh, in attending the Opening Ceremony of the Seminar on "Chinese Medicine- Modern Trends and Applications" co-hosted by the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine today (May 18):
Dr Fang, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to congratulate the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, the Better Health Foundation and the World Trade Centre Associations (Hong Kong) for jointly organising this seminar which brings together prominent local and overseas specialists to exchange professional knowledge and experience in Chinese medicine.
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is committed to the development of Chinese medicine. Over the past few years, the Government has launched various initiatives, including the development of a comprehensive regulatory framework, the provision of formal education in Chinese medicine at tertiary level, promotion of research and commercialisation of Chinese medicinal products.
Since the enactment of the Chinese Medicine Ordinance in 1999 to provide the necessary legislative framework, significant progress has been made on various fronts to facilitate the development of Chinese medicine in Hong Kong. The registration exercise of Chinese medicine practitioners is now at its final stages and we shall see the first batch of registered Chinese medicine practitioners in the coming months. Preparation of subsidiary legislation for the regulation of Chinese medicines traders, medicinal herbs and proprietary products is at an advanced stage. To ensure the quality and safety of Chinese medicinal herbs, our next priority area is the development of standards based on scientific principles and evidence. Our initial target is to develop regulatory standards for commonly used Chinese medicinal herbs, which not only will safeguard public health and enhance the local population's confidence in Chinese medicinal products, but will also promote the use of these products overseas.
We will also introduce Chinese medicine into the public health care system, initially in the form of outpatient services. The plans and detailed arrangements for this are being devised with a view to commencing the services in this financial year. One of our objectives is to facilitate the development of standards of practice of Chinese medicine and models of interface between western and Chinese medicines. For this, good clinical research will be needed to provide the evidence for future practice.
The development of Chinese medicine in Hong Kong requires our concerted efforts. This seminar represents one of the elements in our search for a better understanding of Chinese medicine. I would like to wish you all a successful and fruitful seminar and, to our visitors from overseas, an enjoyable stay in Hong Kong.
END/Saturday, May 18, 2002