The Export of Traditional Chinese Medicine to EU Reduced Sharply by 50%

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In June, the exports of Chinese patent medicine to the EU have reduced to half compared with the exports over the same period last year. By now, Chinese medicine companies have to swallow the bitter pill of their own making. They have to pay a dear price for wasting away the seven-year preparation period before the implementation of EU’s new policy on herbal medicine

The impact of EU’s new herbal medicine policy, implemented on April 30 this year, begins to show on the export of traditional Chinese medicine. According to CHINA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF MEDICINES & HEALTH PRODUCTS IMPORTERS & EXPORTERS, in June this year, the exports of Chinese patent medicine to the EU have reduced to half compared with the exports over the same period last year. By now, Chinese medicine companies have to swallow the bitter pill of their own making. They have to pay a dear price for wasting away the seven-year preparation period before the implementation of EU’s new policy on herbal medicine.

Picture source:eteacherchinese.com

In its newly published “Analysis in the First Half and Outlook in the Second Half of 2011 of Import and Export of Pharmaceutical Product”, CHINA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF MEDICINES & HEALTH PRODUCTS IMPORTERS & EXPORTERS has pointed out that under the European Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products, all herbal medicinal products are required to obtain an authorization to market within the EU. Those products marketed before this legislation came into force can continue to market their product until 30 April 2011. Once this time limit has expired, all herbal medicinal products must have prior authorization before they can be marketed in the EU. However, in the past 7 years, not even one Chinese patent medicine has obtained authorization, which severely hindered China’s medicine export to EU. By June, 2011, export of Chinese patent medicine to EU has dropped 50 percent compared with that of the same period last year.

The EU has always been the world's largest herbal medicine market, with an annual sale of billions of Euros, its herbal market share accounts for 40% of the world’s total. If this market were to be lost, Chinese medicine companies would suffer from a huge loss.

Liu Zhanglin, vice president of the CCCMHPIE, told reporters that there are still a series of formalities for EU to go through before the new policy gets implemented. Now the UK has announced a freeze on Chinese imports. And in some Nordic countries, even there has no mandatory regulations on this matter, the dealers, for fear of the bleak future market prospects of traditional Chinese medicine, have already stopped the import, which has been a huge impact on Chinese export. "Then, as the new policy comes into effect in EU, Chinese medicine companies will face with even greater challenges." An anonymous person in charge of medicine companies said so.

But Liu Zhanglin also pointed out that the good news is that now many Chinese companies are fully aware of the importance of the EU market, Lanzhou Foci Pharmaceutical Company has officially submitted to the Swedish National Drug Administration an application for registration of Chinese medicine products. Besides, at least seventy or eight Chinese medicine companies are ready to submit an application for registration. Meanwhile, as the EU Member States have mutual recognition of their Drugs Acts, the successful registration of a certain medicine in one country will mean that it has gain access to all the mainstream medicine markets in the European Union.

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