[Letters] International standards for traditional medicine

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[Letters] International standards for traditional medicine

A multinational meeting, led by the Chinese, was held in 2009 to create TC 249, a technical committee of the International Standardization Organization, for establishing the laws of worldwide traditional medicine with international standards, including Korea’s oriental medicine. With 31 countries participating, the traditional medicine standard has yet to be chosen and will be decided in the future.

Last month, in the Hauge, a meeting was held for the second time and as expected, China, the strong country of traditional medicine, had the largest voice. The idea of using China’s standards came up in many different proposals for setting the international standards. However, if the Chinese proposal of ginseng seeds and saplings becomes the international standard, it will cause a great loss in Korea’s ginseng industry. China is interested in standardizing the world to their standards in order to dominate the traditional medicine market.

The TC 249 committee will meet again for the third time next May in Korea. If they finally decide on which standards to use at the meeting, it will be the international law for everyone else to follow.

The Korean government and the oriental medicine industry need to get together and start preparing for this meeting. If Korea wishes to succeed in this international standardization war, it must get ready for the next round of meetings. Production, distribution, R&D and medical services should also be merged to win the war for international standards for oriental medicine.


Kim Ki-ok, president of the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine
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