At a State Council executive meeting on Feb 14, Premier Li Keqiang urged promoting the development of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with “an open mind”.
Citing the 2015 Nobel Laureate in medicine Tu Youyou as an example, the Premier stressed the importance of developing the pharmaceutical industry in an open-minded way.
“It is from traditional Chinese medical classics that Tu Youyou drew her inspiration for the discovery of artemisinin, and it is from TCM materials that she extracted artemisinin,” said Premier Li.
“While maintaining the characteristics of TCM, we should further promote the development of TCM with an open mind,” he said.
The executive meeting decided on measures to further promote the development of TCM and explore the advantages of traditional medical science.
“Most TCM doctors nowadays have knowledge of Western medicine,” said the Premier. “As for patients, few seek advice from only TCM doctors or only have TCM. Most now seek advice from both TCM and Western medicine doctors.”
“Therefore, we must further explore and promote a combination of TCM and Western medicine and attach equal importance to both, and further promote the development of TCM with an open mind,” he said.
To inherit and further explore the advantages of TCM, the Premier also said, “We should not ‘generalize’ the concept of TCM without limits, but we should focus on certain key issues and try to achieve breakthroughs in certain fields.”
Recalling recent reports about Chinese tourists buying cold medications and band-aids in foreign countries, Premier Li said, “We must be determined to improve the quality of drugs, especially essential drugs.”
The meeting also laid out plans to advance upgrades and innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. It decided to improve safety evaluations and product tracking systems and strengthen supervision to ensure quality.
The Premier stressed that development of the pharmaceutical industry is, first of all, a requirement for improving people’s livelihood, and also a requirement for development.
According to statistics, the contribution of the pharmaceutical industry for GDP is as high as 8 percent in some Western developed countries, whereas the figure in China is only 5 percent.
“Advancing the upgrade and innovation of the pharmaceutical industry will not only benefit the people, but is also an important measure for maintaining stable growth. It contains tremendous potential for boosting economic upgrading and structural optimization,” said the Premier.