China tightens check over TCM material market
Updated: 2015-02-14 15:03
Students from Handan Zhuhelu Primary School get a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) demonstration in Handan city, Hebei province, Oct 21, 2013. [Hao Qunying/Asianewsphoto]
BEIJING - China's drug watchdog has vowed tighter supervision over the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) material market and severe punishment for irregularities.
The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) made the comments in a statement after unnannounced inspections exposed misconduct in various regions, ranging from artificial coloring, weight-increasing practices, illegal processing and contamination by counterfeit or substandard ingredients.
Sold by weight and mostly processed from plants and animals parts, TCM ingredients are often altered through deceptive practices such as soaking them in salt water to increase their weight and mixing them with cheap but similar materials.
"Illegal practices in the sales of TCM materials must be wiped out so as to cleanse the market," it said, adding that cases of wrongdoings constituting crimes must be immediately transferred to police departments for further management.
The CFDA promised to increase the frequency of sample checks as well as unannounced and anonymous inspections while making more efforts to deal with clues offered by whistleblowers.