What Are The Important Factors In Selecting TCM?

Shenyang, China & Newcastle, Australia – The use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been gaining momentum in the past decades internationally. Even with quite a sizeable consumption and expenditure, there are still many barriers that prevent TCM to be reimbursed by governments or third party payers. Twenty years after the first publication of Global Burden of Disease appeared in World Development Report 1993: Investing in Health, many countries have been interested in using Burden of Disease (BOD) information to better inform health policy.

The study, “What is Important during the Selection of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in a Health Care Reimbursement or Insurance System? Critical Issues of Assessment from the Perspective of TCM Practitioners” to be published in the Value in Health Regional Issues Asia 2013, identified what factors are considered to be important in evaluating TCM products. This information would be valuable to decision makers considering reimbursement for TCM. The study was co-authored by Dr. Fang Zhang (Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, China), Professor Shu-Chuen Li (University of Newcastle, Australia) and other researchers from Shenyang Pharmaceutical University. This study attempted to survey expert Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners in China to elucidate critical issues when assessing effectiveness of TCM.

Our findings suggested that factors to be considered during the selection of TCM in health-care reimbursement or insurance system include patient preference; long-term outcomes; comparative study of alternative options between TCM and allopathic or biomedicine; pharmacoeconomic evaluation results and the overall economic burden of patients, and side effects of TCM.

Says Dr. Fang Zhang, co-author of the article, “In order to evaluate TCM, it is necessary to pay attention to the theoretical characteristics of TCM, which are completely different from allopathic or biomedicine, but the approach on cost-effectiveness assessment would be similar to any conventional health technology assessment.”


Value in Health Regional Issues  (ISSN 2212-1099) is a scientific journal that encourages and enhances the science of pharmacoeconomic/health economic and health outcomes research and its use in health care decisions. The journal is published up to three times a year with one issue focusing on the Asia region, one issue focusing on the Latin America region, and one issue focusing on the Central & Eastern Europe, Western Asia and Africa regions.

The International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) is a nonprofit, international, educational and scientific organization that strives to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness of health care resource use to improve health.

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