Standards ensure safety of traditional chinese medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has an uninterrupted history of development in China and other parts of East Asia dating back thousands of years.  For a number of reasons including population movements, affordability and reputation, TCM has extended well beyond its traditional geographical regions of use and become increasingly used in many other countries. As this occurs, the need for international standards to underpin their wider use is recognized.

Accupuncture needle

Australia is a strong participant in Traditional Chinese Medicine within the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) TC 249 via the work of the Standards Australia mirror committee HE-031. The current scope of the committee primarily focuses on standardization in the fields of quality and safety of  raw materials; manufactured products; medical devices and acupuncture needles; and informatics, all of which are relevant to Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Consumers Federation of Australia (CFA) has a representative on the Australian mirror committee HE-031 who is active on Working Group 5 – Informatics of TCM. The Working Group is involved in creating standards related to Traditional Chinese Medicine nomenclature, terminology, classification and ontology. It is also worth noting that traditional medicines are covered more broadly in the health area by ISO TC 215 Health Informatics with whom ISO TC 249 have a joint Working Group.

Earlier this year ISO TC 249 published its first international standard ISO 17218:2014 Sterile acupuncture needles for single use.

CFA provides volunteer representatives on Standards Australia Technical Committees as part of the CFA Standards Project; if you are interested in finding out more about the Project and/or becoming a volunteer CFA Standards Representative please contact the Standards Coordinator

Photo Credit: NYCTCM (cc)