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Shanghai TCM to be included in project

A TYPE of traditional Chinese medicine developed and manufactured in Shanghai will be included in a project being run by the Ministry of Science and Technology, local health authorities said over the weekend.

Shanghai Hutchison Pharmaceuticals Ltd has received 11.18 million yuan (US$1.64 million) from national and city-level science authorities and the company itself will invest another 20 million yuan over three years for laboratory and clinical research on the Shexiang Baoxin pill, a TCM product developed 30 years ago by local pharmaceutical experts based on a 1,000-year-old TCM formula.

The pill, which contains musk aroma and ginseng plus another four Chinese herbs, has been used by some 30 million patients over the past 30 years to treat coronary disease, chest pain and other cardiovascular problems.

Research has confirmed the pill can support cardiovascular function and the circulatory system by increasing blood flow and helping new blood vessels grow if blockages form in the heart.

"Over the next three years we aim to find the four or five compounds which help the heart function, protect the heart and treat heart disease," said Zhou Junjie from Shanghai Hutchison. "All the research and development procedure will be the same as with Western medicine, which has higher requirements in analyzing its ingredients and safety. Only after we explain how the medicine works will our TCM medicine be recognized by Western countries."

Xu Jinbai, director of the Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine Professional Association, said high-tech tests are the key to the industrialization and internationalization of TCM. He explained that the compound constitution, its stability, and the way it is metabolized after entering the body all must be thoroughly understood in order to market a TCM drug internationally.

"The State Food and Drug Administration kicked off standardized research this year on the pesticide residue, heavy metal, effective ingredients and composition of TCM," he said. "Shanghai will conduct a study on 166 TCM ingredients this year."


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