Legislative Council

LC Paper No. LS107/98-99

Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Legislative Council
on 5 February 1999

Legal Service Division Report on
Chinese Medicine Bill

Object(s) of the Bill

To make provisions for the registration of practitioners in Chinese medicine, the licensing of traders in Chinese medicines, the registration of proprietary Chinese medicines, and other related matters.

LegCo Brief Reference

2. HW CR 1/3911/98 dated 20 January 1999 issued by the Health and Welfare Bureau.

Date of First Reading

3. 3 February 1999.


4. The Bill mainly proposes a statutory framework to regulate the following:-

  1. the practising of Chinese medicine;

  2. the sale or dispensation of Chinese herbal medicines; and

  3. the sale, import or manufacture of proprietary Chinese medicines.

5. The regulation of Chinese medicine practitioners and Chinese medicine would be carried out by the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong. The Council consists of the Director of Health as an ex-officio member and 18 other members appointed by the Chief Executive. The functions of the Council are specified in clause 11 of the Bill. The Council would co-ordinate and supervise two boards, namely the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board which regulates practitioners of Chinese medicine, and the Chinese Medicine Board which regulates Chinese medicine and Chinese proprietary medicine. Functions of the two boards are specified in Schedule 3 to the Bill. Each of the two Boards would be assisted by three committees respectively and the functions of the committees are specified in Schedule 4 to the Bill.

6. In the Bill, practising Chinese medicine is defined as any of the following act or activities :

  1. the diagnosis, treatment, prevention or alleviation of any disease or any symptom of a disease;

  2. the prescription of Chinese herbal medicines or proprietary Chinese medicines;

  3. the regulation of the functional states of the human body,

on the basis of traditional Chinese medicine in general practice, acupuncture or bone-setting. The Bill proposes that all practitioners would be required to take a licensing examination, to be registered, and to hold practicing certificates. Certain existing practitioners would be exempted to take the licensing examination if they meet criteria specified in the Bill.

7. The Bill also proposes licensing and registration systems for Chinese medicine. The control mechanism would include licensing of retailers and wholesalers of Chinese herbal medicine, licensing of wholesalers and manufacturers of proprietary Chinese medicine, and the registration of proprietary Chinese medicine.

Public Consultation

8. According to the LegCo Brief, there was a public consultation exercise in late 1997 and the views collected have been taken into consideration in preparing the Bill. The Administration has also worked closely with the Preparatory Committee on Chinese Medicine and the Bill has the full support of the Committee.

Consultation with the LegCo Panel

9. The Administration has conducted briefings for the Panel on Health Services on the Bill; the most recent of which was on 14 December 1998. At the meetings, members of the Panel raised various questions relating to the Bill.


10. The Bill relates to regulation of the standards of practice of Chinese medicine practitioners and the safety as well as quality of Chinese medicine. These matters have been the concern of the community for a long time. Members may wish to set up a Bills Committee to consider the Bill in detail.

Prepared by

LEE Yu-sung
Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
3 February 1999