Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) requires strict regulatory adherence in Singapore, with the practice heavily regulated by the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board (TCMPB) under the Ministry of Health (MOH). To practise TCM legally in Singapore, practitioners must be registered with the TCMPB and hold a valid practising certificate.

The stringent scrutiny in terms of licensing, premise requirements, and adherence to good clinical practices also extends to all TCM clinics and healthcare establishments, with the MOH conducting regular inspections and audits to ensure every premise complies with these strict regulations. 

In addition, Chinese Proprietary Medicines (CPM) – i.e. medicinal products used according to the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) system of treatment that are manufactured into finished dosage forms (for example, tablets, capsules, pills) – are governed by The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and must comply with a set of safety and quality criteria before they are made available to the public in Singapore.

So, as you can see, those wishing to practise TCM or enter the CPM industry must navigate a complex tapestry of requirements to ensure everything is above board and their business complies with regulations set out by Singapore’s health authorities. Therefore, it is unsurprising that many turn to a regulatory affairs service for help. If you are in a similar boat, let us help you better understand the situation by sharing a regulatory overview of TCM in Singapore.

Read More: Navigating Regulatory Changes in Singapore’s Healthcare Industry

How is Traditional Chinese Medicine regulated in Singapore?

Clinical Practices

Presently, TCM clinics need not register with MOH. However, they are still subjected to scrutiny by MOH to ensure they comply with good clinical practices. Meanwhile, any professional who wishes to practise TCM in Singapore must be registered with the TCMPB and hold a valid practising certificate issued by the Board, which regulates the professional conduct and ethics of registered TCM practitioners.

If you wish to start a TCM practice and want to learn more about the comprehensive regulations, we recommend consulting a regulatory service provider to ensure full compliance.

How is Chinese Proprietary Medicines regulated in Singapore?

The Safety and Quality of CPM in Singapore

To ensure the safety and quality of CPM in Singapore, all local CPM dealers, including importers, manufacturers, re-packers, and wholesalers, must be licensed by HSA. These businesses must also apply for product listing approval for each CPM before importing, manufacturing, or selling the item in Singapore.

Needless to say, the process to get the products successfully listed with HSA is stringent, as dealers must meet relevant safety and quality requirements for their CPM. 

The products must not contain:

  • Any potent/toxic substances controlled under the Poisons Act
  • Any artificial chemical compounds found in Western medicines
  • Excessive levels of toxic heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury and microbial contamination

 

Additionally, all CPM products must have English labels with the following:

  • Product Name
  • Batch Number
  • Expiry Date
  • Active ingredients
  • Dosage

 

Dealers are also not allowed to make claims for treating a specified list of severe medication conditions, such as diabetes and cancer, on their product labels. If the business is made aware of an adverse event, it must report the incident to HSA immediately.

After the CPM product is made available to the public, there is a post-market surveillance programme implemented to observe the safety of the medicines. 

Monitoring Process

  • Firstly, a risk-based market surveillance programme is conducted to sample and test products found in the market. 
  • Secondly, an adverse reaction surveillance programme draws on HSA’s network of local healthcare professionals and international regulatory partners to identify any medicines that may potentially cause adverse reactions. 

 

This system of checks and controls ensures that HSA is able to initiate timely recalls of harmful or defective products.

If you wish to learn how you can successfully navigate the complex regulatory requirements in the CPM industry, we recommend seeking the advice of an expert regulatory affairs management team.

The TCM regulatory landscape in Singapore underscores the nation’s commitment to professionalism, integrity, and patient safety. Every aspect, from practitioner qualifications to product quality control, is meticulously controlled to uphold standards of excellence and ethical conduct.

However, navigating this labyrinthine landscape need not be complex and confusing when you work with the correct regulatory affairs service. As a regulatory service provider with a wealth of experience assisting local and global pharmaceutical and medical companies, we are well-placed to answer any regulatory query you have about the industry. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our regulatory affairs management team today!