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Secretary for Food and Health chairs meeting of Chinese Medicine Development Committee with briefing on progress of various Chinese medicine development initiatives (with photos)
     The Chinese Medicine Development Committee (CMDC) held its 12th meeting today (June 17), which also marked its last meeting within the fifth term of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. The meeting was chaired by the Secretary for Food and Health (SFH), Professor Sophia Chan, and attended by representatives of the Food and Health Bureau (FHB), the Hospital Authority (HA) and the Department of Health (DH).
     "Chinese medicine (CM) is a traditional advantage of Hong Kong, and is well received and supported by the public. The current-term Government has all along been promoting the development of CM, and has reaffirmed the positioning of CM in the healthcare system of Hong Kong in 2018 by incorporating CM into the healthcare system through subsidising defined CM services. Meanwhile, the current-term Government has continued to allocate resources to provide multi-faceted support to the development of CM, including strengthening CM out-patient services and integrated Chinese-Western medicine (ICWM) in-patient services; establishing the two flagship institutions (i.e. the first Chinese Medicine Hospital (CMH) in Hong Kong and the Government Chinese Medicines Testing Institute (GCMTI)); as well as promoting through talent training, research, facilities enhancement and promotions under the support of the Chinese Medicine Development Fund (CMDF), so as to generate additional driving forces for CM development. Over the past five years, we have worked closely with the CM sector in taking forward a number of tasks and achieved promising results," said Professor Chan.
     Relevant government departments and organisations reported to the CMDC the progress and achievements of various policy initiatives on CM development:
Chinese Medicine Clinics cum Training and Research Centres
     The 18 Chinese Medicine Clinics cum Training and Research Centres (CMCTRs), operated under a tripartite collaboration model involving the HA, non-governmental organisations and local universities, have been providing government-subsidised CM out-patient services at the district level since March 2020, recording an attendance of over 1.13 million so far. 
     Regarding promotion of training, the HA has launched a new structured training programme for Chinese medicine practitioner (CMP) trainees since 2020 to comprehensively enhance their clinical ability and professional standards, with a total of 216 quotas provided annually. The HA will continue to strengthen on-the-job training of CMPs at different ranks and CM drug professionals.
     As regards promoting research, the HA collaborates with the CMCTRs and local universities to systematically carry out research projects on CM and diseases, with 61 CM research projects conducted so far.
Integrated Chinese-Western medicine in-patient services
     The HA has been providing ICWM treatment services to HA in-patients of selected disease areas through the CMCTRs. At present, ICWM in-patient services are provided at eight public hospitals, covering all seven hospital clusters. The total number of attendances has exceeded 50 500. To tie in with the policy direction of the long-term development of CM, the HA will continue to explore enhancing ICWM in-patient services at public hospitals by increasing the number of participating hospitals and selected disease areas, as well as to look into the regularisation of the services concerned.
Sharing of Chinese medicine healthcare information
     In order to promote digitalisation of CM healthcare information, the HA has developed a CM information system, namely the "EC Connect". A pilot scheme was launched in March 2020, with 102 private CM clinics participating in the scheme so far. A function for the sharing of CM information under the Electronic Health Record Sharing System has been introduced since March this year.

Role of Chinese Medicine in Primary Healthcare Services
The CM sector is committed to providing professional support and services to the public at the level of primary healthcare.  We will explore stepping up the role of CM  in the Primary Healthcare Blueprint, and joining hands with the CM sector to establish inter-disciplinary community healthcare networks. The enhanced use of the Electronic Health Record Sharing System by the CM sector would enable us to deepen the development momentum in future.
Development of Chinese Medicine Hospital
     The Government has commissioned the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) to operate the first CMH in Hong Kong under a public-private-partnership model. The CMH will be developed into a local flagship CM institution and a change driver promoting the development of services, education, training, innovation and research. The CMH will provide clinical services of pure CM, CM playing the predominant role and ICWM, covering both inpatient and outpatient services. The CMH will also support the clinical placement of the three local universities and serve as a clinical training platform for CMPs. The CMH will also collaborate with universities as well as educational bodies in Hong Kong, the Mainland and overseas to conduct clinical research and other CM-related research.
     Following the commencement of the design and construction works of the CMH in June last year, the FHB is actively following up on various preparation work for the commissioning of the CMH, and will continue to maintain close communication with the stakeholders of the CM sector.
Government Chinese Medicines Testing Institute
     The GCMTI, to be managed by the DH, specialises in testing and scientific research of CM drugs, with focuses on conducting research and establishing internationally recognised reference standards on the safety, quality and testing methodology of CM drugs using state-of-the-art technology. It will empower the CM drug industry through the transfer of testing technology to strengthen quality control of products, with a view to establishing the brand image of Hong Kong's CM drugs.
     Pending the completion of construction of the permanent premises, a temporary GCMTI has been set up in the Hong Kong Science Park in March 2017, with six research projects completed and 46 briefing sessions, training workshops and other activities organised so far. Separately, under the Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards project, reference standards for 330 Chinese Materia Medica commonly used in Hong Kong have been completed. The research results have become well-recognised both locally and abroad, bringing benefits to the industry.
Chinese Medicine Development Fund
     Since the formal launch of the CMDF in June 2019 by the FHB, the CMDF has rolled out various funding schemes to support training, improvement of clinic facilities, enhancement of proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm) manufacturing quality and management systems, pCm registration, promotion of CM and applied studies and research, benefiting practitioners and organisations at different levels of the CM sector. Over 4 300 funding applications have been approved so far. The FHB is conducting a review on the overall implementation of the CMDF, with a view to further enhancing the funding schemes and utilisation of resources so as to support the CM sector in a more effective and targeted manner for fostering long-term CM development.
Mainland and international collaboration in CM
     Hong Kong has been backed by the motherland since the return thereto, and has received support and guidance on various fronts from relevant Mainland ministries/commissions and experts. The current-term Government has been actively strengthening Hong Kong's role under the blueprint set out in the Construction Plan for the Chinese Medicine Highlands in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (2020-2025). Among others, Mainland public CM healthcare institutions, as pilot sites, started to recruit Hong Kong CMPs last year; and Hong Kong registered traditional pCms for external use currently could be registered and sold in the Mainland through the streamlined procedures. In the course of developing the Hong Kong CMH and the GCMTI, the Government has received expert advice and support from the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (NATCM) and the National Medical Products Administration.  
     The NATCM, the FHB and the DH jointly organised a large-scale promotional campaign titled Promotion of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China - Hong Kong Programme in 2018, with around 100 educational and publicity activities organised under the support of the CM sector. The FHB also supported and sponsored organisations in the CM sector to host two large-scale CM international conferences in Hong Kong, namely the "Hong Kong International Summit on Chinese Medicine" in 2018 and "The 18th World Congress of Chinese Medicine" in 2021, to promote the competitive edge of Hong Kong in the development of CM.
Responding to public health incidents with Chinese medicine
     CM has unique advantages in epidemic prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. Since 2018, the FHB has been strengthening co-ordination and co-operation with different stakeholders in the CM sector before the peak influenza season to support the public in need at the primary healthcare level.
     CM has played an important role during the COVID-19 epidemic. The participation of CM in epidemic prevention has increased gradually since the first wave of the epidemic. Particularly in combating the fifth wave of epidemic, there has been in-depth participation of CM in the whole process of epidemic prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, giving full play to CM's advantages and functions to support Hong Kong's anti-epidemic strategies.  
     The DH and the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong (CMCHK) have drafted the Prevention of COVID-19 - Infection Control Measures for Chinese Medicine Clinic (Interim) Guideline and the Guidelines on Professional Ethics for Telemedicine Services respectively for reference by CMPs. Separately, the CMCHK has also formulated the registration mechanism for granting conditional approval for pCm related to a major public health emergency, and has expedited the approval and issue of import licences of anti-epidemic pCm/Chinese herbal medicines.
     CM has played an instrumental role in the multi-tiered triage treatment system. The HA has launched in January last year the Special CM Programme for COVID-19 In-patients at the Treatment Centre for COVID-19 (AsiaWorld-Expo) and the North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre to enable CM intervention in in-patient treatment as early as possible, thereby allowing ICWM to give full play to its strengths. Earlier, the Mainland medical support team also assisted the HA to further enhance the CM service scale and capacity of the Treatment Centre for COVID-19 (AsiaWorld-Expo). Around 550 patients have participated in the programme so far, with over 3 000 consultations conducted. During the fifth wave of epidemic, the HA speedily took the lead in mobilising CM service providers in the community to participate in the CM Services for Residential Care Homes for the Elderly (RCHEs) programme to provide outreach or telemedicine CM services to infected residents of RCHEs. The service concerned has been further expanded to cover rehabilitation consultations. A total of 250 RCHEs have joined the programme so far, with around 11 000 consultations conducted.
     The Government has also been stepping up the use of CM in various establishments, such as community isolation facilities and holding centres, as well as offering persons under isolation/quarantine and general public CM consultation and advice services, widely distributing anti-epidemic pCms, etc. The HA has also set up a free-of-charge CM advice service hotline, with over 12 300 telephone enquires handled so far. The Government has also co-ordinated with the CM sector to mobilise its resources to take forward various work, including launching the "Fight the Virus Together - Chinese Medicine Telemedicine Scheme" through the CMDF to subsidise CMPs to provide free-of-charge telemedicine services as well as dispensing and delivery of CM drugs, and expediting and according priority to the processing of subsidy items in relation to anti-epidemic work.
     Having regard to the significant advantages of CM in rehabilitation, the HA launched in April 2020 the Special CM Out-patient Programme to provide free-of-charge rehabilitation services to eligible infected persons to treat sequelae with CM through the 18 CMCTRs. So far, over 34 500 recovered patients have joined the programme and over 117 100 consultations were conducted.
     "I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Chairman of the Chinese Medicine Practice Subcommittee under the CMDC, Professor Chan Wing-kwong, and the Chairman of the Chinese Medicines Industry Subcommittee under the CMDC, Mr Tommy Li, as well as members for providing valuable advice to the Government over the past years. With the support of the Central Government in the development of CM in Hong Kong, the CMDC and stakeholders in the CM sector have joined hands with the Government during the current-term Government, achieving many breakthroughs, in particular in the fight against the epidemic and collaboration within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and laying a solid foundation in the development of CM in Hong Kong.
     "Looking ahead, I believe that the development of CM in Hong Kong will usher in more opportunities. Given that CM is an important part of Hong Kong's healthcare system, we will further capitalise on CM by enhancing its promotion and application so as to enable it to make significant contributions in safeguarding the health of the public," Professor Chan said.
     Established in 2013 and chaired by the SFH, the CMDC provides recommendations to the Government concerning the direction and long-term strategy of the future development of CM in Hong Kong, with a focus on four key areas, namely the development of CM services, personnel training and professional development, scientific research and development, and development of the CM drug industry (including CM drug testing).
Ends/Friday, June 17, 2022
Issued at HKT 19:45
Today's Press Releases  


The Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, chaired the 12th meeting of the Chinese Medicine Development Committee (CMDC) today (June 17). Photo shows Professor Chan (front row, fifth right); the Permanent Secretary for Food and Health (Health), Mr Thomas Chan (front row, fifth left); the Director of Health, Dr Ronald Lam (front row, second right); the Chairman of the Chinese Medicine Practice Subcommittee under the CMDC, Professor Chan Wing-kwong (front row, fourth right); and the Chairman of the Chinese Medicines Industry Subcommittee under the CMDC, Mr Tommy Li (front row, fourth left), as well as other members, before the meeting.
The Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan (third right), chairs the 12th meeting of the Chinese Medicine Development Committee today (June 17).