Washington International Law Journal


The global demand for traditional Chinese medicine ("TCM") has exploded in the last thirty years. Demand for TCM products increased both domestically in the People's Republic of China ("PRC") and internationally. However, the stigma of "witch doctoring" associated with TCM remains. Several developed nations have established national and local regulation of TCM practitioners to protect their citizens from dangerous treatments. After almost forty years of virtually unregulated endorsement of TCM, China recently began its own standardization of TCM products and practice. The question must be asked, what inspired such a dramatic and rapid change in Chinese policy? The geyser of Chinese TCM regulation can largely be attributed to a growing international demand for alternative medical treatments. China realizes the potential profit of TCM trade, and recognizes comprehensive knowledge of its own medicine creates an obvious advantage over other sources of TCM. However, lack of standardization in products, outlandish advertising campaigns, and apprentice-based training all contribute to many nations' unwillingness to allow the importation of TCM from China. China's new TCM regulations respond directly to foreign countries' concerns and display the PRC's determination to fully enter, and possibly dominate, the global TCM market.

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