Under a Chinese medicines traders licensing system to be implemented shortly by the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong (CMCHK), all persons engaged in the business of retail or wholesale of Chinese herbal medicines, and manufacture or wholesale of proprietary Chinese medicines must apply for licences from CMCHK's Chinese Medicines Board (CMB).
The CMB will receive applications for Chinese medicines traders licences starting from May 5, 2003. The traders who are eligible for transitional licensing should submit their applications on or before July 15, 2003.
Dr. Daniel Tse, Chairman of CMCHK, said at a press conference today (May 2), "The Chinese medicines traders licensing system is a milestone in the regulation of the Chinese medicines trade. Through the licensing system, practising standards of the Chinese medicines trade can be maintained and the health of the public can be protected."
Dr. Tse said that the CMCHK and the CMB made the subsidiary legislation on regulation of Chinese medicines last year.
The provisions concerning licensing of Chinese medicines traders in the Chinese Medicines Regulations and the Chinese Medicine (Fees) Regulation, the Chinese Medicines Traders (Regulatory) Regulation came into effect on 30 April this year.
He also estimated that six months after the implementation of the Chinese medicines traders licensing system, the proprietary Chinese medicines registration system will be brought into operation.
The Assistant Director of the Department of Health (DH),Dr TH Leung said, "Any Chinese medicines traders who carry on their business in Chinese medicines on 3 January 2000 will be eligible for transitional licensing.
"Application for transitional licence should be submitted from May 5 to July 15, 2003. Late applications will not be accepted. Those Chinese medicines traders who are not eligible for transitional licensing should also submit their applications during the same application period to allow the CMB to process the applications and issue the licences as early as possible.
"When the first round of licensing work is completed, persons who do not have appropriate licences shall not operate a Chinese medicines business."
Dr. Leung said, "The CMB and DH will shortly conduct briefings with the trade to introduce the application procedures and the documents required for Chinese medicines traders licences. On receiving the applications, inspectors of the Department of Health will visit the premises and the traders who fulfill the licensing requirements will be issued with the licences."
Dr. Leung said, "The CMB has also formulated four sets of practising guidelines, including "Practicing Guidelines for Chinese Herbal Medicines Retailers", "Practising Guidelines for Chinese Herbal Medicines Wholesalers", "Practising Guidelines for Proprietary Chinese Medicines Manufacturers", and "Practising Guidelines for Proprietary Chinese Medicines Wholesalers", to give the traders detailed guidance on business premises, warehouse, facilities and equipment and qualifications of personnel."
"Besides complying with the requirements of the laws, licensed Chinese medicines traders will have to follow the practising guidelines to ensure the standards of the trade are maintained. If a licence holder violates the law, the licensing conditions or the practising guidelines, the CMB may, in accordance with the Chinese Medicines Traders (Regulatory) Regulation, consider suspension or revocation of licences, etc."
To facilitate the operation of the Chinese medicine practitioners, the business premises of listed and registered Chinese medicine practitioners who dispense Chinese herbal medicines to patients under their direct care will be exempted from the retail licence in Chinese herbal medicines.
The "Chinese Medicines Traders Licence Application Handbook" and the application forms are available for distribution at DH's Chinese Medicine Division on 32/F, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East and at District Offices. For more details, please call 2574 9999 or visit the website of the CMCHK (http://www.cmchk.org.hk).
End/Friday, May 2, 2003