- Governement Sector
- Univesity Professor
Department of Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy,
Ministry of Health & Welfare
The Department of Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy is responsible for monitoring, regulating the laws relevant with Chinese Medicine. Also, the department executes these laws and corresponds to the citizens, medicine manufacturer, doctors, and foundations. Annually, the organization will conduct educational sessions for the young generation to perceive the correct concept of Chinese Medicine and familiarize this important Chinese culture.
A Public Engagement with Government Sector
What key issues we discussed:
Through interactive and iterative dialogues, we learned how our government legislated the laws for Chinese Medicine and the process of regulation. And the difficulties the government face when it comes to educating people the correct knowledge about Chinese Medicine and finding the appropriate law standards. Meanwhile, the government officers asked a few technical questions to clarify how our product may work, and the background of creating a rapid scanning device. The government sector is excited to hear that we decided to invent a rapid scanning based on biotechnology. They assured us that they will eagerly promote our project to all, once the product has overcome the difficulties and is proven to function well. Moreover, they were impressed that we high school students highly value the importance of Chinese Medicine at such a young age.
Food and Drug Administration, Ministry of Health & Welfare
The safety and quality of food, drugs, medical devices and cosmetics are integral parts to promote the high standard of the national life style, health concerns and medical treatment. TFDA provides a vigorous and comprehensive management system, serving it as a criterion for the whole nation's health issues and setting it as a point of reference or index for the public health perspective.
A Public Engagement with Government Sector
Deputy Minister Ms. Chiu-Chin Tien, Overseas Community
Deputy Minister Ms. Chiu-Chin Tien was a former senior legislator in Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee of the Congress. The Congress in Taiwan has a wide range of powers, including enacting and amending legislation, reviewing and approving budgets, and adopting treaties among other important affairs of the State. She has been devoted to environmental protection for decades. Her career highlighs include the founder of Yilan Branch, Taiwan environmental protection union, convener of Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, Excutive Secretary of Anti-Sixth Naphtha Cracking Plan Association, Director General of Qulan Cypress National Park Promotion Association.
A Public Engagement with Deputy Minister Ms. Chiu-Chin Tien
The objective of this visit was to learn the health and environment challenges our society now face, as well as promote our project idea and ask for feedback.
We realized that even the Congress is aware the importance of environmental protection and health hazards relevant to Chinese medicines contaminations. The challenges of monitoring the safety of Chinese medicines our government face including the regulations and survillence system for imported goods, and the costs of conducting systematic survey on toxins in Chinese medicines. The government alone cannot resolve all problems because of the constant financial shortage. Also, the government supports synthetic biology, but still has a few regulations and concerns when it engages in” To what extend will the modified be taken?” “If there is something wrong, will people be able to notice in the first place?” “Will the product or creation be consumed by human or inserted in a human?”
We learned that the most vital difficulty the government face is that there is not enough budget and technicians to detect all the imported goods. Our product has the potential to save a fortune and ease the pressure of governors. From a senior policymaker’s perspective, Deputy Ministor Ms. Chiu-Chin Tien is positive about our project and views it as a promising method to deal with the problems we now face! The final highlight of this visit was greeting with Mr. Po-Lin Chi. Mr. Chi is the director of Beyong Beauty-Taiwan from Above. The film is documenting Taiwan from an aerial perspective offering a glimpse of Taiwan's natural beauty as well as the effect of human activities and urbanization on our environment. We are touched by knowing that everyone has to play a watchdog role to protect our beautiful island, all kinds of environment resources, and people’s health.
Legislator Man-Li Chen
A Public Engagement with Legislator Man-Li Chen
What key issues we discussed and learned?
Legislator Man-Li Chen currently serves in Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee. This Committee is responsible to deliberate policies of health, environment, labor affairs, and consumer protection, and bills related to powers of Department of Health, Environmental Protection Administration, The Consumer Protection Commission, Council of labor affairs, Executive Yuan, and Department of Social Affairs Ministry of Interior. Before being a legislator, she was the chairman of Environmental Defense Fund of Homemakers’ United Foundation, the chairman of National Federation of Taiwan Women’s Organization, a member of National Council for Sustainable Development, and Director of Legal Aid Foundation.
To enact a law on Chinese medicine, there should be a considerable number of reported cases. However, people who tend to take Chinese medicine are more likely to have a weak body in the first place, which may cause a confusion when symptoms of poisoning occurs. Secondly, toxin in Chinese medicine accumulates gradually overtime. Thus, patients cannot be sure of the cause during the chronic phase of heavy metal accumulation. Third, some groups of Chinese medicine are classified as food supplies while others categorized as drugs. Hence, this will lead to another problem in law legislation. As for feedbacks, the governor suggests us that we promote our product to youngsters. For example, hold a science camp where students are allowed to bring home a DIY product and test their grandparents’ prescription from the traditional drug store. This way, we can avoid being targeted by Chinese medicine manufacturers and successfully spread our ideas to the society. Generally speaking, the government sees synthetic biology as a vital technology to change the future and is totally for us.
Homemakers United Foundation (HUF) was set up by a group of homemakers committed to environmental protection in 1989. HUF published handbooks to encourage environmental protection awareness and trained housewives to promote environmental protection in their communities and schools.
A Public Engagement with a NGO
What key issues we discussed and learned:
We learned that the biggest problem of regulating Chinese medicine is the ignorance of the people in Taiwan. Most people want to have the highest quality of Chinese medicine, yet they refuse to pay more money for the merchandiser to import goods. And people without background knowledge only values Chinese medicine by its price rather than the medicine’s beneficial features. We also learned that every country has their own law standards of imported Chinese medicine. If our regulations for Chinese medicine raises too high, most goods will be sold to countries with lower law criteria; however, if we press the law standards way too low, the quality of the imports will suffer. Thus, law legislation for Chinese medicine is greatly varied by the trend of trading abroad.
We are excited to learn that an article discussing the need of regulation amending Chinese medicines was just publised in their periodical, June 2016. Apparently, we share the same vision and mission to protect people’s health. We believe that our product is not to solve all the problems of Chinese medicine contamination by itself, but rather to raise awareness among people. We do not want traditional pharmacies to close down. We want people to believe that they should try to consider the daily substance by themselves.
Figure 3.Foundation constantly observes and advocates environmental protection issues occurred around the world, espeically in Taiwan. They have periodical cover various topics, such as GMO, nucler power, food safety etc. An article discussing the need of regulation amending Chinese medicines was just publised in June, 2016.
I-Mei Foods Company, LTD
I-Mei was founded in 1934, as a traditional Taiwanese confectionary. They are manufacturer, distributor, importer and exporter of quality food products. They commitment to provide only the best quality food and hold themselves responsible for the health and well-being of customers. It is the first and only foods company operates a laboratory to control quality and safety of food sources and products.
A food safety dialogue
What key issues we discussed:
The sensitiveness of the E. coli should be sharp when it comes to testing medicine. Because a wide variety of metal and ions might interfere the results, the singularity in identifying becomes very important. Also, many harmful elements don’t always come in the form of ions. Unmodified specimens are most likely to be difficult to detect one specific toxin. Thus, we should also come up with a way to detect different forms of elements and compare its results to those made from an official laboratory.
What have we learned?
1.Understand what entrepreneurs think about food crisis and bio engineering. For the health and safe reasons, they do not support genetic modified food. However, they agree that bio engineering is a crucial technique for future technology. The combination of different fields of science is the future trend.
2.Survillience system: They suggest that manufacturers shouldn’t be forced to obey the law, but deliberately follow the standards. They believe that manufacturers shouldn’t waste resources on testing the whole production process because the factories should be able to control the processing steps. So, tests should be mostly run on primary ingredients, which humans cannot control.
3.Visit the laboratories in I-Mei and learn the procedure of how food raw materials and food products are tested for potential harms, such as pesticides, heavy metals, or other toxins.
Non-Profit Organization Brion Research Institute of Taiwan,
Sun Ten Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd
Sun Ten Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a renowned GMP manufacturer of concentrated herbal extracts conforming to international standards. For 60 years, Sun Ten has dedicated itself fully to the research and development of innovative herbal and TCM products in an attempt to advance human health and to improve the quality of life. With emphasis on safety, high quality, efficacy, Sun Ten is able to produce high quality products, which meet international standards. Today, Sun Ten has become a leading world-class manufacturer of herbal products.
A Public Engagement with a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company
Dr. Chi-Fang Chang, former CEO of iStat Biomedical Co. Ltd
Dr. Chi-Fang Chang received her PhD in Chemistry from University of Chicago. She worked as a senior researcher at Scipps Research Institute, USA for many years. After that, she was assigned as the CEO of the iStat Biomedical Co. Ltd, Taiwan. iStat is a biomedical company dedicated to early cancer detection and health related research.
What key issues we discussed:
Taiwan is a country where most people are eager to embrace new technology. However, the benefits and side effects are necessary for purchasers’ acknowledge. Moreover, we should keep clear that whether our product targets accuracy or time-saving. That way, we can fully introduce our product to the market.
As a senior and dominating expert in biotechnology, Dr. Chang is very excited to hear that we have new ideas to detect the toxins in Chinese Medicine. She herself has conducted a few research and project to detect cancer via biotechnology. But she thinks that our new aspect of detecting toxin in the traditional culture itself is very unique!
What have we learned?
We learned what difficulties biotechnology industries now face, and what to keep in mind when trying to commercialize a product. The TAT (turn around time) is most crucial to promoting experts. The speed of the results symbolizes the potential in marketing.
Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, National Yang-Ming University
The Institute of Traditional Medicine is the first and only institute for traditional medicine amongst all the national medical colleges in Taiwan and specializes in education and research on traditional medicine. Three main aims include (1) To promote Chinese culture, to break through the bottlenecks in modern medicine, and to cultivate research talent and teachers. (2) To follow the trend of global medicine and serve the health of mankind through studying how to combine traditional medicine with modern medicine. (3) To standardize, systematize and modernize the diagnostics of traditional medicine by studying and collating traditional pharmacology.
What knowledge gap we need to fill?
Traditional Chinese medicines is a comprehensive and complex science knowledge. To gain fundamental knowledge about Chinese herbal medicines for our project, we consulted two professors of Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, National Yang-Ming University. One is Director and Professor Shu-Ling Fu, another is Professor Jen-Hwey Chiu.
What have we learned:
1.Essential knowledge of the types, roles and functions of various Chinese herbal medicines in daily life.
2.Types of heavy metals contamination in commonly consumed traditional Chinese herbal medicines.
3.Various methods and technologies to detect toxins in Chinese herb medicines.
4.Currently, a reliable, quick and user-friendly screening device has not been developed and introduced yet.
5.Chinese herbs themselves may either inhibit or trigger the responses of biosensors. It is important to identify and control these confounders.
6.Sensitivity and specificity of biosensors.