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Results of Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards (Phase IV) announced

     The Department of Health (DH) today (February 23) published reference standards on safety and quality for 36 commonly used Chinese Materia Medica (CMM) in Phase IV of the Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards (HKCMMS).

     "As the popularity of Chinese herbal medicines grows while the demand for public health protection also increases, it is imperative to safeguard the safety and quality of commonly used Chinese herbs through the establishment of reference standards," a DH spokesman said.

     "The research work on the HKCMMS not only addresses concerns of Chinese medicine users and global regulatory agencies over safe use of Chinese medicine, but also provides ample opportunities for researchers to broaden the scope of their research on traditional Chinese medicine," the spokesman further remarked.

     The criteria for selection of CMM for the research include:

- common usage in the local community;
- international concern in respect of their safety and quality;
- high economic value in the local market; and
- priority being accorded to the CMM listed in the two schedules of the Chinese Medicine Ordinance.

     Research work was conducted by research teams from six local universities, namely City University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Baptist University, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the University of Hong Kong (in alphabetical order).

     An International Advisory Board comprising local, Mainland and overseas experts was appointed to advise on the research's principles, methodologies, parameters and analytical methods. The Government Laboratory developed analytical methods for determination of heavy metals, pesticide residues and mycotoxins, and participated in inter-laboratory verification.

     The State Food and Drug Administration as well as the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the People's Republic of China also provide valuable advice and support for the project.

     The publication, HKCMMS Volume IV, sets out the name, source and description of the 36 herbs and methods of identification (including microscopic identification, thin-layer chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatographic fingerprinting).

     The 36 herbs are Arctii Fructus, Arsenicum, Arsenolite, Artemisiae Annuae Herba, Atractylodis Rhizoma, Aurantii Fructus, Aurantii Fructus Immaturus, Calomelas, Cinnabaris, Cistanches Herba, Cnidii Fructus, Corni Fructus, Corydalis Rhizoma, Curculiginis Rhizoma, Curcumae Longae Rhizoma, Dictamni Cortex, Ecliptae Herba, Fritillariae Hupehensis Bulbus, Houttuyniae Herba, Hydrargyri Oxydum Rubrum, Hydrargyrum Chloratum Compositum, Isatidis Folium, Isatidis Radix, Orpiment, Peucedani Decursivi Radix, Peucedani Radix, Polygoni Cuspidati Rhizoma et Radix, Realgar, Schisandrae Chinensis Fructus, Schisandrae Sphenantherae Fructus, Schizonepetae Spica, Scrophulariae Radix, Scutellariae Barbatae Herba, Smilacis Glabrae Rhizoma, Sophorae Flavescentis Radix and Stephaniae Tetrandrae Radix.

     The DH will issue letters to Chinese medicine trade associations, wholesalers and manufacturers of Chinese medicines and representatives of laboratories, inviting them to briefing sessions.

     The standards for the 36 CMM will be put into use for a trial period of 12 months, starting from April 2012, upon completion of all briefing sessions for traders and laboratories.

     In the 2009-10 Policy Address and the 2011-12 Policy Address, the Chief Executive emphasised the importance of expediting the setting of standards for CMM commonly used in Hong Kong, and increasing the number of CMM covered by the HKCMMS to about 200 by 2012. To strengthen research efforts for the HKCMMS, co-operation agreements were signed in 2011 with both the National Institutes for Food and Drug Control, under the State Food and Drug Administration, People's Republic of China, and the China Medical University of Taiwan.

     The HKCMMS Volume IV is accessible at the DH website (

     Limited copies of CDs containing the HKCMMS Volume IV can be obtained from the HKCMMS Office of the Chinese Medicine Division on 2/F, Public Health Laboratory Centre, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon.

     Printed copies of the publication will be available for sale from early April 2012.

Ends/Thursday, February 23, 2012
Issued at HKT 12:28


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