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International meeting on Hong Kong's Chinese herb standards commences (with photo)

     The Sixth International Advisory Board (IAB) Meeting on Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards (HKCMMS) commenced in Hong Kong today (December 6) to continue to examine standards for Chinese herbs.

     The HKCMMS provides recommendations regarding the safety and quality of Chinese herbal medicines commonly used in Hong Kong with the primary aim of safeguarding public health.

     The three-day meeting, chaired by the Director of Health, Dr P Y Lam, is being attended by over 50 overseas, Mainland and local experts in Chinese herbal medicine. Researchers from research institutions will present their findings for IAB endorsement.

     "The year 2011 represents another landmark achievement for the HKCMMS project, for we have brought in top expertise from renowned research institutions from the Mainland and Taiwan to develop the standards for a total of 28 herbs. Co-operation agreements have been signed with the National Institutes of Food and Drug Control of the People's Republic of China, and China Medical University, Taiwan," Dr Lam remarked.

     "I would also like to express our appreciation to our local research partners, namely the Chinese University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the University of Hong Kong, for continuing to support the project with their excellent research work. In particular, inter-laboratory validation studies are undertaken by the Government Laboratory, which adds to the scientific rigour and robustness of the Standards," Dr Lam added.

     The IAB was established in early 2002 to give advice on the principles, methodologies and analytical methods for the development of the HKCMMS. It comprises renowned experts from the Mainland, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States in addition to local experts.

     The IAB is also responsible for the selection of institutions to take up the required research work, including laboratory analysis, determining the target herbs and helping to decide the content of the HKCMMS.

     The meeting will review and endorse the research work of the current phase of the HKCMMS project for 40 herbs and formulate a strategic plan for the next phase.

     The Chief Executive announced in the 2009-10 and 2011-12 Policy Address that the Government would further expedite the above efforts to cover up to a total of 200 commonly used Chinese herbs by 2012.

     The publication of the fourth volume of the HKCMMS by early next year together with the endorsement of the current phase of the project by the meeting will bring the number of Chinese materia medica being covered by the project to 140.

     The Department of Health (DH) has recently developed and released an iPhone application for the first eight monographs of the HKCMMS, and will continue to work on the remaining monographs with a view to promulgating safety and quality standards for the use of Chinese medicines.

     Information on the HKCMMS' publications can be obtained from the DH website under the section "Chinese Medicine" at

Ends/Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Issued at HKT 17:49


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