Working together towards the inheritance of a mission
Medical ethics of Yellow Emperor are miraculous grace of all
Here comes the joyful spring of the Year of the Rabbit! While our medical practitioners are full of festive cheer at the start of the Year of the Rabbit, the revised Code of Professional Conduct for Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners in Hong Kong and Code of Conduct for Listed Chinese Medicine Practitioners in Hong Kong (the Codes) formally came into effect on 1 January 2011 after much deliberation was made over the past two years. As commented by the Counsel, Mr Erik I SHUM, the legal advisor of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board, who is much devoted to the development of the Chinese medicine for over a decade, the Codes served as the rule of a family. It is understood that the Codes, a legally binding document, are the "regulation for a family" to all of us who are practising the Chinese medicine.
We, the Chinese Medicine Practitioners (CMPs) in Hong Kong, are a family. Having commonly inherited the greatest mission of the Chinese medicine from the Yellow Emperor, we are working in the same field. As CMPs, not only have we attained the excellent and professional level of the Chinese medicine, but we also uphold a high standard of ethics. We should comply with the principle of ethics in the Codes. With the launching of the Codes, a source which denotes "honesty and credibility" of our Chinese medicine trade, CMPs will win the trust of the local community. By applying the expert knowledge of the Chinese medicine to "heal diseases and save people", we CMPs express our mission of life. All CMPs will continue to study the expert knowledge of the Chinese medicine in a systematic manner in order to gain a thorough understanding of the truth of the "traditional Chinese medicine". We will treasure the professional value of being a CMP and cherish the hardearned professional title of "CMP".
All CMPs are living in the same place, our motherland. We share the same dream of maintaining the health of the public. As members of the community, professional CMPs are committed to building a harmonious, integrating and win-win community in which people from all walks of life will appreciate and respect each other. Under the common goal of "healing diseases and saving people", Chinese and Western medicines of the healthcare sector are both the miraculous grace for human beings. Both of them are practical medical science to safeguard people's health. Chinese or Western medical study has its own merits. They can supplement each other if they work together harmoniously. In such a way, the aims of serving the community and making contribution to Hong Kong people's health and medical care can be achieved.
May I take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all members of the Ethics Committee for their diligence and dedication to the revision work of the Codes for CMPs in the past two years. Also, I would like to thank all CMPs for their concern and unfailing support during the process of consultation in relation to the revision of the Code of Professional Conduct for Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners in Hong Kong.
Let us work together with all our might for the inheritance of quintessence of the Chinese medicine in the New Year.
Mr. Wong Ngar-kok James
Chairman of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board
At the end of March 2011, there were 6,243 registered CMPs, 66 CMPs with limited registration, and 2,769 listed CMPs.
The application for sitting the 2011 CMPs Licensing Examination for non-listed CMPs was closed in late October 2010. Regarding the application for listed CMPs and repeaters, it was closed on 31 March 2011.
Paper 1 and Paper 2 of the Written Examination of the 2011 CMPs Licensing Examination will be conducted on 14 and 16 June 2010 respectively. In the event of bad weather, the examination will be postponed to 18 June 2011. The clinical examination is scheduled to be held between 2 August and mid-August 2011.
Candidates should receive the admission form and the "Guidelines for Candidates" one week prior to the examination. They may contact the Secretariat of the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong (the Council) if they do not receive the above-mentioned documents on time.
In accordance with section 76 of the Chinese Medicine Ordinance (the Ordinance), a registered CMP must apply for a valid practising certificate before he/she is allowed to practise Chinese medicine in Hong Kong. The usual validity period of a practising certificate is three years. Before a registered CMP is issued with the renewed practising certificate, he/she must fulfill the requirements of continuing education in Chinese medicine, as determined by the Practitioners Board. From December 2010 to March 2011, 21 registered CMPs renewed their practising certificates.
For acquiring CME points from taking professional Chinese Medicine courses / programmes held by Accredited Mainland Institutions by registered CMPs, according to Appendix V of the Handbook on System of Continuing Education in Chinese Medicine for Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners, registered CMPs would only be awarded CME points from participating in courses / programmes held by Accredited Mainland Institutions and of CME subjects. Subsidiary bodies of Accredited Programme Providers should submit application for Accreditation of Individual CME Programme. Registered CMPs would not be awarded any CME points from taking the courses / programmes held by subsidiary bodies of Accredited Programme Providers unless accreditation from the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board is obtained.
The Practitioners Board held the disciplinary inquiries for six CMPs who were convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment or breached the Codes from December 2010 to March 2011. All CMPs were found guilty after inquiries. The Practitioners Board ordered to remove the name of three registered CMPs for 3 to 6 months, but suspended the applications for 12 to 24 months, reprimanded two registered CMPs, and warned one registered CMP.
For the inquiry on an applicant with a record of previous conviction for an offence punishable with imprisonment, the registration application was approved by the Practitioners Board after inquiry.
Summing up the above cases, the Practitioners Board reminds all CMPs to take note of the issues below.
In the judgment of a disciplinary inquiry, the Practitioners Board stated that the Reference Guide on the Issuance of Sick Leave Certificates by Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners (the Guide) which acts as a reference of the generally accepted standards of the profession, has listed out the common diseases in Hong Kong and the recommended number of sick leave for each disease. As registered CMPs have to be responsible for the sick leave certificates issued, they are advised to make reference to the Guide and take into consideration of patient's condition together with their professional judgment, for issuing appropriate sick leave certificates.
In another case of disciplinary inquiry, a CMP prescribed five qians of Herba Asarum to a patient. CMPs are reminded to pay attention to the Codes that they are required to conform to professional standards and should not prescribe excessive or inappropriate medicines. The Practitioners Board had sent a letter to all CMPs on 12 June 2004, providing the following guidelines on the appropriate use of Herba Asari: use only the proper name Herba Asari on prescription; the species of Herba Asari used must be those specified in the Ordinance, that is, the botanical species of Asarum heterotropoides Fr. Var. mandshuricum (maxim.) Kitag., Asarum sieboldii Miq. Seoulense Nakai, and Asarum sieboldii Miq. of the Aristolochiaceae; the medicinal part of Herba Asari is restricted to the root only, no other parts shall be used; the daily dosage of an adult should not exceed 1 qian or 3 grams; they should be decocted with water and should not be ground into powder for oral administration; the time of decoction should not be less than 60 minutes; new born babies, pregnant women and those with renal dysfunction shall not be prescribed such medicine, and should be used with care for children. Moreover, it should not be used together with Radix et Rhizoma Veratri. CMPs should also note that the following situations may adversely affect the treatment of patients: excessive dosage or number of medicines, applying no therapeutic principle or principles on treatment or treating the acute before the chronic, and not complying with the principle of formula.
Except the clauses regarding "Signs and Signboards at clinics" which will come into effect on 1 July 2011, the revised codes of conduct have become effective from 1 January 2011. The revised Codes were distributed to all registered and listed CMPs at the end of December 2010, and were also uploaded to the website of the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong (http://www.cmchk.org.hk). All CMPs are reminded to read and conform to the revised Codes.
The Disciplinary Committee noticed that the information contained in the signs and signboards exhibited at clinics by some CMPs might be reminiscent of the CMPs' medical services, for example, "XXX Chinese Orthopedics Clinic". According to the Codes, the signs and signboards of a clinic can only contain "name of the CMP or the name by which his practice is known, in Chinese and English". For registered CMPs, the information should also comply with the Codes that only one of the streams of practice "General Practice", "Acupuncture" or "Bone-setting" can be put in a bracket at the end of their title; while for listed CMPs, only "Chinese medicine practitioner" can be exhibited. The CMP may breach the Codes if the information contained in the signs and signboards is in excess of those stipulated in the Codes.
To strengthen the regulation of Chinese medicines, the legislation regarding mandatory registration of proprietary Chinese medicines (pCm) in section 119 under the Ordinance came into effect on 3 December 2010. Thereafter, no person shall sell, or import, or possess any pCm that has not been registered. Any person who violates shall be liable upon conviction to a Level 6 fine (i.e. $100,000) and imprisonment for two years. Besides, section 143 and 144 under the Ordinance regarding the requirements of label and package inserts for pCm will come into force on 1 December 2011.
As a practising CMP, you are reminded to comply with the aforementioned legal requirements, that is, to procure and supply registered pCm. Attention should be paid to the descriptions on pCm labels and package inserts as required under the law.
Also, CMPs should note the exemptions given to the pCm administered or supplied by a registered or listed CMP as stipulated respectively under section 158(6) of the Ordinance, and the pCm entrusted to be manufactured by a licensed pCm manufacturers under section 37 of the Chinese Medicines Regulation.
In accordance with section 158(6), a CMP may compound pCms at the premises where he practises for, and only for, the sole purpose of supplying or administering the same to his patients, existing or future, under his direct care for both internal and external uses. For that purpose, a CMP may compound pCms in advance, but should not sell to walk-in customers without first having examined them. He commits an offence under s119(1) and 155 of the Ordinance if he does that and may be liable to a fine at level 6 and to imprisonment for 2 years.
The majority of the amendments made to the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (ECO) and the Pneumoconiosis and Mesothelioma (Compensation) Ordinance (PMCO) relating to the recognition of medical functions of registered CMPs came into operation on 1 September 2008. The remaining provisions on reimbursement of the cost of pCm were also brought into operation on 14 January 2011, in order to tie in with the commencement of the provisions relating to the registration of pCms under the Ordinance and the Chinese Medicines Regulation.
From 14 January 2011 onwards, the rights of employees include the recognition of the medical treatment and check-up, and the issuance of certification from registered CMPs. The employer (under the ECO) or the Pneumoconiosis Compensation Fund Board (under the PMCO) continues to be liable to pay the cost of pCm prescribed by registered CMPs. However, the pCm should be registered, deemed to have been registered or exempted from registration under the Ordinance or the Chinese Medicines Regulation. In addition, if the pCm prescribed is one that is exempted from registration under the Ordinace, the prescription should show the name and quantity of each Chinese herbal medicine contained in the pCm.
For preparation of sick leave certificate or prescription, registered CMPs should refer to the Reference Guide on Issuance of Sick Leave Certificate by Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners, Concise Guide on the Employees' Compensation Ordinance published by the Labour Department and the website of the Pneumoconiosis Compensation Fund Board (website: http://www.pcfb.org.hk/index2.html) for details.
The Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance (UMAO) (Cap. 231) prohibits advertisements claiming that a product or a treatment has curative or preventive effect on any diseases listed in the schedules to the Ordinance. It aims to protect the general public from being induced by advertisements to seek improper self-medication or treatment instead of consulting relevant healthcare professionals.
To enhance the protection of public health, the Undesirable Medical Advertisements (Amendment) Ordinance 2005 (UMA(A)O) was enacted to extend the prohibition or restriction on advertising to six groups of health claims related to orally consumed products.
Other major amendments of the UMA(A)O include :
increasing the penalty for contravention of UMAO from $10,000 to level 51 and imprisonment for six months for a first offence; and from $25,000 and imprisonment for one year to level 6 1 and imprisonment for one year for a second or subsequent offence; and
empowering the Director of Health to appoint inspectors to enforce the Ordinance.
The above amendments are planned for commencement in the latter half of 2011, and the exact commencement date shall be appointed by the Secretary for Food and Health and published in the Gazette.
1 Currently, the level 5 and level 6 penalties are $50,000 and $100,000 respectively.
The Department of Health has prepared guidelines on the UMAO and UMA(A)O for the trade. The relevant guidelines and details of the Ordinance can be viewed and downloaded from the following websites:
If there is any question about the content of the ordinances or whether an individual advertisement has contravened the UMAO, the trade is advised to seek advice from legal or relevant experts.
The Practitioners Board has sent registered letters to some CMPs, but the letters remain unclaimed after 4 months of issue. According to section 56(2) of the Ordinance, the Practitioners Board may order removal from the Register the names of such registered CMPs in such circumstances. In accordance with section 57 of the Ordinance, the Practitioners Board shall serve a notice to the CMPs concerned stating its intention to remove their names from the Register under section 56(2) of the Ordinance and to invite them to give any written representations to the Practitioners Board.
The Practitioners Board appeals to the following CMPs to contact the Secretariat as soon as possible. If other CMPs have contact with them, please notify them of the above.
All CMPs are requested to notify the Secretariat as soon as possible if there are changes in their registered address, correspondence address, practising address, telephone number, fax number and other personal data which have been previously reported to the Practitioners Board. Enclosed please find the form for notification of change of personal data. It may also be obtained from the Secretariat if needed.
Should you have any opinions regarding the contents of the Newsletter of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board, please send them to the Secretariat by post, fax or email, indicating "Newsletter of the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board". All published Newsletters of Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board have been uploaded to the Council's homepage (http://www.cmchk.org.hk). CMPs are cordially invited to visit the above website.
Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong
Room 2201, 22/F, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East,
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Enquiry telephone: (852) 2121 1888
24-hour enquiry system: (852) 2574 9999
Fax Number: (852) 2121 1898
E-mail Address: email@example.com
Service Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays