Skeptic News: Big Pharma to investigate TCM

From: China Daily

Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline will open a new research unit in China to look attraditional Chinese medicine.

According to the company, Innovative TCM will be one of GSK’s R&D programs in China,aiming to transform TCM from an experience-based practice to evidence-based medicinesthrough innovation and differentiation.

“Traditional chinese medicine is a well-established system of medical practice developedthrough thousands of years of empirical testing and refinement of herbal mixtures, and reliesgenerally on clinical experience,” said Zang Jingwu, senior vice president and head of R&DChina.

“Western medicines, on the other hand, are generally target-based small molecules orbiologics, and their approvals for clinical use are based on clinical evidence of safety andefficacy by staged clinical trials,” he said.

He said the newly formed unit is working with academic TCM experts in China to develop newTCM products for the benefits of patients in China and the rest of the world.

The strategy is to integrate the existing TCM knowledge of diseases with modern drug discovery technology and clinical trial methodology. Whether this is simply a business decision, with GSK looking to crack the alternative medicine market, or a genuine attempt to discover what might work and what might not remains to be seen. It is also possible that the move is a political one designed to give GSK preferential access to the Chinese medicine market which is a hefty prize. One that GSK might be keen to win after paying the largest settlement in US history for healthcare fraud.

If it is a genuine attempt to research TCM and find out what works and what doesn’t with proper scientific inquiry then it should be applauded.

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0 Responses to Skeptic News: Big Pharma to investigate TCM

  1. Acleron says:

    ‘It is also possible that the move is a political one’

    I wonder why such an underhand motive is suspected. Could it have anything to do with the fact that all GSK has to do is go down to their local TCM shop to buy all the materials necessary.

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