Published 5 June 2014

Top traditional medicine companies and doctors renounce use of endangered wildlife products

Shanghai, China, 5th June 2014—Representatives from several leading traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) companies have formally renounced the use of endangered plants and animals protected by national and international legislation in medicinal products at a meeting held last month in Shanghai.

Several famous TCM doctors and experts also strengthened their firm commitment not to use parts from Tigers and other protected animals and also committed to reduce their legal use of certain endangered species managed under the government’s China Labeling System for medicines. 

The statements were made at the Forum on Rejecting illegal use of endangered species as TCM ingredients—China’s TCM Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability supported by WWF-UK and held as a follow up to the Environmental Governance Programme (EGP) meeting earlier this year. 

The meeting was jointly hosted by TRAFFIC and the East China Normal University and co-sponsored by the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) and Zhejiang Wecome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. 

More than 30 participants included TCM experts, well-known TCM doctors, Directors of top TCM companies, government officials and key players within the TCM sector, such as the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, The Second Military Medical University, Fudan University, East China Normal University, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai Forestry Administration, Shanghai Wildlife Conservation Department, CITES-MA Shanghai Office, Shanghai Wildlife Identification Center, Shanghai Huayu Chinese Herb Co. Ltd, Shanghai Leiyushang Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd, Shanghai Caitongde Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd, Shanghai Qunli Pharmacy, Zhejiang Wecome Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, Shanghai Shuguang Hospital, Shanghai Baoshan Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

Following a lively debate, participants were unanimously in favour of the meeting commitment, which firmly refuses the use of endangered medicinal plants and animals protected under national and international legislation. The commitment also states that TCM practitioners should strictly follow the national ban on the use of Tiger bone issued by the State Council in 1993.

“We firmly abide by national laws and international Conventions during our daily operations,” said Zhenguang Xu, vice-general manager of Shanghai Huayu Chinese Herb Co., Ltd. “In accordance with these laws and regulations, medicinal materials from endangered species acquired before any national or international bans were introduced have been sealed in storage by our company to prevent them from entering the marketplace.” 

Professor Ansheng Yu, a famous TCM Doctor at Shanghai Shuguang Hospital, “Our hospital stopped using Tiger bone and rhino horn and any medicines containing them following the national Ban in 1993. Doctors have been taught since they are students at medicinal universities about sustainable use and conservation of endangered species used in TCM.”

Mr Xu Hongfa, Professor at the East China Normal University and the former Head of TRAFFIC in China said: ”All universities, especially those with TCM schools, should promote the necessity and urgency of protecting endangered wildlife and educate students and practitioners strictly to follow the national law and international Conventions such as CITES.”

CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. 

In 2007, supported by TRAFFIC, CWCA compiled a textbook on Sustainable use and Conservation of Endangered Species for Medicinal use. The textbook was distributed to participants and students at TCM universities, while in 2010 and 2013, TRAFFIC hosted meetings where representatives from the TCM industry committed not to use parts from Tigers and other endangered species and to protect endangered species

“We are pleased that the leading TCM companies and TCM practitioners in Shanghai have renounced any use of endangered medicinal plants and animals protected under national and international legislation. This will set the stage across China.” said Jianbin Shi, Head of TRAFFIC in China. “It is an important step in our goal towards changing consumer behaviour away from the use of endangered species.”