Led by Professor Zhaoxiang Bian, Associate Vice-President and Director of the Clinical Division of the School of Chinese Medicine, at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), an international group of experts has spent 10 years of time to review and recently published a recommendation for reporting clinical trials with Chinese medical formulas (CONSORT-CHM Formulas 2017).

Improving reporting quality of clinical trials on Chinese herbal medicine formulas


The group undertaking this comprehensive process comprised of Chinese medicine clinical experts, methodologists, epidemiologists and a medical journal editor. They came from a various institutions, including UK’s University of Oxford, University of Ottawa in Canada, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and Sichuan University in China, etc.

“Currently, tens of thousands of clinical trials have been conducted on Chinese herbal medicine formulas; but the quality of reporting is unsatisfactory. Inadequate reporting quality not only reduces the value of Chinese herbal medicine, it also affects the judgement about the efficacy and safety of Chinese medicines in general,” remarked Bian. “Therefore, there is an urgent need to establish reporting guidelines for clinical trials of Chinese herbal medicine with a view to encouraging the publication of clinical trial reports compiled by researchers in different countries, as well as enhancing the global influence of Chinese medicine,” he added.

International medical community recognises growing importance of Chinese medicine research


The recommendation was recently published in an internationally renowned journal, Annals of Internal Medicine. Three versions of the paper – in English, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese –were published simultaneously online.

This is the first time – since the journal was first launched in 1927 – to publish a paper with three versions, indicating that the international medical community attaches great importance to Chinese medicine research.

On the basis of the CONSORT Statement, the concept of zheng (also called “pattern” or “syndrome”), which is a core element of Chinese medicine theory, alongwith details of quality control of Chinese herbal medicine were added to form CONSORT-CHM Formulas 2017.

The development of CONSORT-CHM Formulas 2017 was partly funded by the Hospital Authority (HA) of Hong Kong. MIMS

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