More on the Objectives
For clarity purpose, additional information on the CMDC objectives is shown below:
- MODERNIZATION OF THE CM INDUSTRY: To meet the CM globalization challenge, HK’s CM industry must be transformed expeditiously from a traditional industry to a modern one while striving to retain tried-and-true traditional knowledge and practices. A new generation of CM executives and workers should be trained to master the modern management skills and CM-related technologies. A centre for CM quality control/verification/accreditation should be set up to support the Quality-assured CM Trading Center. This transition and transformation will require strong supports from the scientific community and a set of reasonable regulations matching the industry’s capability to conform as it grows.
- ICMCM: 7 years after it was launched by MCMIA, ICMCM has now become the only serial international CM mega event that attracts top botanical scientists, government officials and company executives to congregate in Hong Kong to bring themselves up to date with the latest information on the scientific, regulatory and commercial development in CM. Strong reinforcement of this valuable platform from the HK government is needed to ensure HK’s hitherto undisputed leadership in the internationalization of CM using this platform.
- HARMONIZATION: Currently, the Cross Strait Four Regions兩岸四地 has 4 independent regulatory jurisdictions on CM, each enforcing a different set of rules. This lack of regulatory uniformity has been impeding cross-border and cross-strait CM trades. Hong Kong is the ideal party to initiate an effort to harmonize the regulations of the 4 regions through a number of reciprocation steps. Success in harmonization will not only spur market activities. It will also expose issues of common concerns which can then be addressed by the 4 parties collectively without duplications of efforts.
- INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE: Minister Chen Zhu 陳竺of MOH once declared that the healthcare in the 21st century would be a combination of CM with western medicine. The resulting medicine would be better than either one modality on its own. HK is in a unique position to identify the strengths of CM so as to supplement and strengthen the weakness of conventional medicine, particularly in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of major disease burdens. With our expertise in healthcare management and research, we could develop and evaluate evidence-based CM programs for their cost-effectiveness so as to determine their possible impacts on the total healthcare costs, health maintenance of our population and the quality of life of the community. The establishment of CM departments and beds in public and private hospitals would provide choices and accesses to accredited experts in China through “service trading” (服務貿易). In this context, HK can serve as the stepping stone to local and international clients in search of superior CM services.
- INFORMATICS CENTER: During the past decade, a number of CM databanks covering a wide range of subjects such as herbal resources, chemical markers, pharmacognosy, toxicology, CM diagnosis, treatments, herbal formulas, component standards, classical literature and business intelligence have been undergoing development in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Sichuan, Hangzhou and Taiwan etc. However, no effective attempt has been made to weave all these information nodes into a network with shared ontology to facilitate data mining, international search and knowledge generation. Hong Kong, being a leader in information technology and medical sciences in this region, is well positioned to coordinate an effort to create this virtual network. International business intelligence collection by this center will also be essential to enhance the industry’s competitiveness.
- CHINESE MEDICINE SPECIALTY COLLEGES: As a world-renown center for western medicine, HK has established a robust system for the training, examination and continued professional development for major specialties and sub-specialties through a series of specialty colleges. The MOH in China has deemed it an appropriate model for the Mainland to emulate. The establishment of corresponding Specialty Colleges in CM will similarly help enhance the definition, standards, mentorship and postgraduate education, leading to a comprehensive advancement of the various fields in CM. We propose that plans should be made to identify CM experts to develop their specialties with a view to form Colleges which could be managed under one roof comparable to the Academy for western medicine.
- CHINESE MEDICINE RESEARCH COUNCIL: Since 1997, HK and neighboring governments have made more funding available towards CM scientific and clinical researches. However, to date, apparently, no consensual strategic plan for the direction and priority of CM R&D has been developed. As a result, there are duplications and unnecessary competitions among the researchers, resulting in an overall slow progress in CM R&D. Meanwhile, many new fields (such as proteomics, genomics, and metabolomics) and novel research methodologies have been added into the CM R&D arena, giving the researchers more research tools to work with. Therefore, it is time to review HK’s CM R&D programs and to design a comprehensive scheme to co-ordinate, commission and fund CM projects. We propose that CMDC should help organize a central expert body, such as a Chinese Medicine Research Council, to prioritize, maximize and optimize HK’s investment in CM R&D.
Structure and Financing of CMDC
A simple organizational structure for CMDC is proposed on the right. The Board of Director (BoD) shall have the responsibilities to operate and direct all the actions and activities of the Commission. Directives from the BoD to achieve the 7 objectives shall be executed by the Secretariat which will be composed of an Executive Director and a number of staff members. The BoD shall also be supported by a number of advisory or expert committees which provide the BoD with expert consultation for specific tasks or disciplines.
The BoD shall consist of members representing the various sub-sectors constituting the CM community as well as experts in the relevant fields. The Chairmen of the committees could also be eligible as Board members to provide continuity and to enhance communication.
Financial support of CMDC could come, at least, from the following 3 sources:
- Direct government funding
- Philanthropic and charity donations
- Proceeds resulting from CMDC sponsored/organized activities and the use
of CMDC services and facilities
It is difficult to estimate the annual budget for CMDC without agreeing on its operational mode and activity scope. However, for a project of this magnitude and significance, the Government should commit substantial capital and recurrent funding commensurate with the anticipated overall long term return on investment.
The creation of CMDC should be done in a stepwise and consultative manner with the helps of stakeholders, government agencies, legislators and other relevant individuals inside and outside of HK. Therefore, a consultation procedure should be carried out before proceeding with CMDC.
With that in mind, we suggest the following action items to take place and to be completed in about a year:
- The government appoints a Chinese Medicine Enquiry Group (CMEG) to conduct an in-depth study through a series of consultation sessions on the subject with the help of experts, interested parties and stakeholders.
- At the end of the study and consultation, the CMMG shall report to the Chief Executive (CE) its findings. The report should include :
- A detail study result on the national and international conditions relating to the development of a modern CM industry in HK and the promotion of HK as an international center for CM
- A set of recommendations regarding the CMDC’s organization, funding sources, operations, goals/objectives and mandates
- A proposed budget for the Commission.
- Once the plan is completed, C.E. proceeds to seek allocation of the resources and appoint the start-up personnel for CMDC.