Shandong imposes traditional Chinese medicine quotas on hospital prescriptions

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A recent notice of the Shandong provincial health bureau announces a government campaign to promote traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in local hospitals by encouraging them to prescribe more TCM, hire more TCM doctors, and purchase more TCM equipment.

Despite growing skepticism about the efficiency of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), in 2017 the Chinese government invested in its promotion as part of the country’s cultural heritage. Some local authorities have even included TCM as part of elementary school curricula. The latest effort is a January 3 announcement (in Chinese) from the Health Bureau of Shandong Province.

One rule specifies that at least 60 percent of prescriptions at TCM hospitals and 40 percent at integrative (combined regular/TCM) hospitals must be for TCM treatments. Other rules set quotas for medical staff who have TCM training, encourage doctors to study TCM, and call for the establishment of different TCM departments.

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