The RCHM’s Approved Suppliers Scheme

As part of our commitment to consumer protection, the RCHM runs an Approved Suppliers Scheme. Launched in 2004, it offers a means for practitioners of Chinese Herbal Medicine to reassure their patients that the herbs they use are both safe for medicinal use and of the highest possible quality. The RCHM actively encourages practitioners to source their ingredients from suppliers on the approved list and the vast majority of our members do so.

Under the Approved Suppliers Scheme, when a supplier applies to join, a trained pharmaceutical auditor checks the company to see whether it meets the required standards – and then continues to do so annually. To secure and then retain membership of the RCHM's scheme, a company must have personnel trained in quality assurance, provide an adequate storage environment for medicinal products, be able to accurately identify and source herb species, and have the capacity to trace herb batches in the event of a product recall. The company must also comply with CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) restrictions.

Herbs and herbal products imported into the UK from China are licensed by the country's State Food & Drug Administration; they may also be sourced from companies in Taiwan, where licences are issued by the Taiwanese Department of Health or, given most Taiwanese products are sold into the Australian market, by medicine regulators in Australia.