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New herbal medicine gets go-ahead

THE Shuguang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital has been granted a new-medicine license by the state drug authorities for a herbal compound it developed to treat respiratory diseases, hospital officials said yesterday.

They said it was the city's first new medicine developed by a TCM hospital. Laboratory, animal and clinical tests have already confirmed the safety and effectiveness of the treatment.

A local pharmaceutical company is to produce the medicine, Jingyin Granule, based on the Jingyin Herbal Compound. The medicine has been used at the Shuguang hospital for 30 years.

Without a license, hospital-made medicine is only allowed to be used for the hospital's own patients.

The main components of the medicine are nine Chinese herbs which have detoxifying and anti-inflammatory effects.

The hospital began to research the herbal compound in the 1990s with a view to its commercial production.

With the support of the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission, the hospital carried out tests to identify its useful chemical ingredients and confirm its effects.

Its main active ingredients were found to be protocatechuic aldehyde for diminishing inflammation and chlorogenic acid for bacteria and virus control.

"Traditional Chinese medicine is much more complicated than Western medicine," said Dr Xu Desheng, director of Shuguang's department of pharmacy.

"Even though our long-term practice has confirmed its effects on patients, we must adopt the developing method in line with Western medicine for a new-medicine license and commercial production.

"There was an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in the nation in 2003, when we started clinical tests," Xu said. "About 500 patients at five local hospitals' fever clinics received the medicine and most people's symptoms cleared up within two to three days."

Shanghai Xingling Scientific and Technology Pharmaceutical Co said it was preparing for production of the medicine.


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