Selling Eastern/Chinese medicine in the West


To find strategies for selling Chinese/Eastern medicine to Western consumers.

Early Findings

  • By 'West', the geographies examined were places like the US, Canada, Europe and Australia.
  • TCM is a popular term for traditional Eastern medicines and practices.
  • The volume and value of traditional medicine exports has been declining in recent years.
  • TCMs have special challenges in Western markets due to tighter restrictions on things sold for medicinal purposes.
  • One technique to promote TCMs in Western market is continued work in new formulations which appeal more to these customers.
  • Communicating that TCM is based on systemic biology rather than pharmaceutical action is important.
  • The 'food as medicine' movement is extremely relevant to promoting Eastern medicine in Western markets.
  • According to an import attorney, "limiting product claims (if any) to how the product affects the structure and function of the body in terms that do not imply a treatment or cure for any disease may also facilitate a getting a product to market."
  • Mitigating the differences in Western and Eastern medicine has been key in getting it understood in Western markets. "Organizations steeped in the Western conventions, such as the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), have created units to research traditional medicines and practices. And TCM practitioners are increasingly looking for proof of efficacy in clinical trials. They often speak of the need to modernize and standardize TCM."
  • More and more academic researchers are studying TCM.
  • Herbal supplements are one of the biggest segments of Eastern medicine that Western consumers are interested in.
  • The origins of herbs is usually unknown and causes a lot of doubt among consumers, so messaging should help combat this.
  • Western beauty brands are starting to incorporate TCM in their products.
  • Western consumers turn to TCM for many reasons - among these are wishing to avoid side effects from pharmaceuticals or not seeing success with regular medicine.

Proposed next steps:

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