Tong Ren Tang makes push into US medicine market

Updated: 2016-10-02 16:47

By WANG CONGJIANG in San Francisco(

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Tong Ren Tang makes push into US medicine market

Ding Yongling (3rd from left), CEO of Beijing Tong Ren Tang Chinese Medicine, and Ji Guangfei (5th from left), Chairman of Tong Ren Tang International, attend the opening ceremony of its first store in San Francisco on Friday. 

China's largest traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) brand wants to be an international player.

Beijing-based Tong Ren Tang opened its first store in San Francisco on Sept 30 after opening two stores earlier last week in New York.

"It would be our first foothold in the US," said CEO Ding Yongling. "We want to build Tong Ren Tang into an international brand."

Founded in 1669 in Beijing, Tong Ren Tang is one of the oldest pharmacies in China. It was the designated medicine provider for the Qing Dynasty royal court, supplying medicine for eight different Qing emperors. Despite its status in China, Tong Ren Tang can enter the US market only as a supplement brand.

Ding said her company currently works with medical research institutions in the United States in order to get Food and Drug Administration approval.

"We expect the process to take at least three to five years," she said. "In the meantime, we will work with medical schools to raise awareness of the rich resources of Chinese medicine."

On Sept 30, Tong Ren Tang launched a three-year partnership with the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, introducing Chinese medicine in the curriculum.

Lixin Huang, executive director of the Chinese medicine program at the institute, said Tong Ren Tang's products are of high quality and revered throughout China.

Huang said TRT is a key element in the institute's efforts to fully integrate TCM into the American health field.

Ding said the goal for Tong Ren Tang in the US is to bring innovation to clinical care, support new TCM practitioners and advance awareness of the medicine in the US.

She added that the ultimate goal is to establish an operation model that includes growing and manufacturing Chinese medicine and developing wellness centers and teaching hospitals in the US that are modeled after integrative health institutions in China.

Ji Guangfei, chairman of Tong Ren Tang International, said the company is seeking to work with US medical insurers to include Tong Ren Tang in their coverage. Ji said the company is currently working with commercial insurance providers but he will look to include public insurance providers.