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Traditional Chinese Medicines: The Chinese Market and International Opportunities.

A survey of the Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) market indicates that conventional Western-style medicines hold 60 percent of the market in the People's Republic of China (PRC) while herbs and other traditional medicines make up the remaining 40 percent. This information is contained in a report on the Chinese market just published by Natural Medicines Marketing of London, England, in collaboration with Sino European Clinics Ltd. of Bath, England.

The report is divided into three sections. Part I presents an overview of China and includes population demographics, economics, natural resources, a summary of TCM, the structure of the state healthcare system, and legislation dealing with medicines, drug approvals, and quality control.

Part II: "Chinese Medicines Industry" looks at the distribution and production of medicines, including cultivation, wildcrafting, manufacturing and processing of ingredients; different categories of medicines from loose ingredients (yin pian) to patent medicines, health products, and Chinese drugs; research and development institutes, funding, and trends; market size, structure, and key players; distribution through hospitals, clinics, and retail outlets; trends in growth; and key problems and opportunities facing the industry.

Part III: "International Opportunities" reports the research and development joint ventures currently underway with major and minor pharmaceutical firms (e.g., Pfizer, Glaxo-Wellcome, and others) as well as the import and export opportunities with China.

Some of the statistical highlights related to herbs follow: In 1994, 914,000 acres (555,000 mu) were cultivated with medicinal plants in China. With a total demand for 1.6 million tons, the output of merely 300,000 tons via cultivation suggests that a majority of these plants are still being foraged from wild habitats. The authors of the report speculate that actual harvest of cultivated material might be as high as 400,000 tons, thus still leaving a significant shortfall which portends potentially serious consequences on wild populations. According to the report, 30 traditional herbs account for approximately 50 percent of the demand for herbs in China. These include licorice, dong quai, ligusticum, rehmannia, atractylodes, peony root, poria, astragalus, ginseng, honeysuckle flower, yam root, aconite root (processed), lychee fruits, magnolia bark, and orange peel. The report includes a table which lists 20 primary (mostly herbal) ingredients and their sales volume in tons in 1994: NATURAL BUSINESS STOCK INDEX(TM) -- PUBLICLY-OWNED HERBAL COMPANIES (Including related dietary supplement, body-care and plant-based pharmaceutical products.) Revised September 25, 1996 Company Name Location Symbol Ex Product/Brands Herbs, Botanicals, and Dietary Supplements Amrion Boulder, CO AMRI(*) NA(*) Dietary supplements Chai-Na-Ta Corp. Langley, B.C. CCCFF NA Ginseng products Cyanotech Kailua-Kona,HI CYAN NA Spriulina, miroalgae produts; Nutrex brand 4Health Inc. Boulder, CO HHHH NA Nature's Secret, Lindsey Duncan's Home Nutrition Futurebiotics Hauppage, NY VITK NA Futurebiotics Gum Tech Intl. Phoeniz, AZ GUMM NA Dietary supplements Hauser Boulder, CO HAUS NA Dietary supplements HealthRite New York, NY HLRT NA Dietary supplements; Nautilus brand Herbalife Intl. Los Angeles,CA HERB NA Dietary supplements, personal care Intl. Vitamin Co. Freehold, NJ IVCO NA Fields of Nature, Revlon, Rybuton, Nature's Wonder, American Vitamin, Synergy Plus, Nature's Blend, private label brands Martek Columbia, MD MATK NA Dietary supplements, raw Biosciences materials derived from midroalgae Natural San Marcos, CA NAI AN Dietary supplements, Alternataves, with products sold Int'l Inc. under Jenny Craig, Avon, NuSkin, NSA International, and Nordic Track Nature's Bohemia, NY NBTY NA Nature's Bounty, Bounty Inc. Hudson, Natural Health, Good N' Natural, American Health Nature's Sunshine Provo, UT NATR NA Herbal and dietary Products supplements Nutrition for Houston, TX NFLI NA Dietary supplements Life Int'l. PDK Laboratories- Hauppage, NY PDKL NA Dietary supplements (parent company of Futurebiotics) Paracelsian Inc. Ithaca, NY PRLN NA Plant-based pharmaceutical Pure World Far Hills, NJ PURW NA KavaPure, raw materials Reliv, Int'l. Chesterfield,MO RELV NA Dietary supplements Rexall Sundown Boca Raton, FL RXSD NA Thompson Vitamins, Sundown brand Shaman So.San SHMN NA Plant-based Pharmaceuticals Francisco, CA pharmaceuticals Food/Beverage/Retail Body Shop Littlehampton, BDSPY OT Personal care products International Eng. retail chain Celestial Boulder, CO CTEA NA Herbal teas Seasonings Garden Botankia Redmond, WA GBOT NA Personal care products retail chain General Nutrition Pittsburgh, PA GNCI NA Health food retail Co. Inc. chain Whole Foods Austin, TX WFMI NA Full service natural Market products retail chain Company Name Type of Market Annual 52-wk 52-wk Close revs. ($M) high low 9/23/96 Herbs, Botanicals, and Dietary Supplements Amrion Mail order, 38 22 1/4 9 3/4 20 1/4 Mass market, Health foods Chai-Na-Ta Corp. Natural foods, 26 2 13/16 1 11/16 27/16 Mass market, International Cyanotech Natural foods, 8 15 5 1/8 6 1/8 raw materials 4Health Inc. Natural foods, 23 17 1/8 5 7 1/4 Mass Futurebiotics Natural foods 11 1 1/2 1/8 3/16 Gum Tech Intl. Natural foods 3 7 3/4 5 5/8 6 1/8 Hauser herbal raw 25 8 3/8 4 1/4 6 materials HealthRite Mass market 3 1 1/2 2 7/8 9 Herbalife Intl. Multi-level 480 16 3/8 6 3/4 14 7/8 Intl. Vitamin Co. Natural foods, 43 4 1/6 1 3/4 2 7/16 Mass market Martek Biosciences Natural foods, 3 37 3/4 15 1/4 22 Mass market raw materials Natural Mass market 38 12 7/8 7 8 3/4 Alternataves, Int'l Inc. Nature's Bounty Inc. Natural foods, 166 17 7/8 4 17 1/4 mass market Nature's Sunshine Multi-level 203 30 1/2 13 53/64 16 47/64 Products Nutrition for Life Multi-level 52 35 8 1/8 11 Int'l. PDK Laboratories- Mass market 30 5 1/2 2 3/8 3 7/8 Paracelsian Inc. Pharmaceutical 0 7 5/8 15/16 3 1/16 Pure World Natural foods, 6 4 1/6 1 11/16 1 3/4 raw materials Reliv, Int'l. Multi-level 50 8 1/2 1 3/16 6 1/2 Rexall Sundown Natural foods, 151 39 3/4 9 1/16 37 mass market Shaman Pharmaceutical 2 9 3/8 4 7/8 6 Pharmaceuticals Food/Beverage/Retail Body Shop Retail 910 16 9 5/8 14 3/4 International Celestial Seasonings Natural foods, 69 26 16 1/4 19 1/2 mass market Garden Botankia Retail 98 35 8 1/2 10 1/2 General Nutrition Retail 864 26 1/2 13 1/4 17 1/8 Co. Inc. Whole Foods Market Retail 491 37 1/8 10 7/8 24 (*) Abbreviations: NA=NASDAQ:AM=American Stock Exchange Information provided by The Natural Business Stock Index(TM), an exclusive product and service of Natural Business(TM), the Journal of Business and Financial News for the Natural Products Industry, published monthly by Natural Business Communications, PO Box 7370, Boulder, Colorado 80306-7370. Ph. 303/442-8983. Fax 303/440-7741. E-mail $249/yr. Article copyright American Botanical Council. ~~~~~~~~ By Mark Blumenthal