When Are FU Zi and Ma Huang Going to Become Available?

February 22, 2013

Two of the herbs proposed by the former Chinese Medicine Registration Board of Victoria to be added to Schedule 1 of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP) remain unavailable to registered Chinese herbal medicine practitioners with additional endorsement for prescribing these herbs individually.

The SUSMP, referred to as “The Poisons Standard”, has a Schedule 1 which is empty. Under the Victorian Poisons List (Schedules 2-9 are adopted automatically by reference from the national Standard for Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons), it is currently illegal for a Chinese herbal medicine practitioner or herbal dispenser to ‘obtain, possess, use, sell or supply’ certain Chinese herbs listed in the various schedules of the list. Similar restrictions apply in other states and territories.

The former Chinese Medicine Registration Board Victoria (ended on 30 June 2012) prepared  a submission for the Victorian Minister for Health recommending the inclusion of  Fu Zi and Ma Huang (as well as Ban Bian Lian) in Schedule 1 of the Victorian Poisons List so that Board-endorsed practitioners could safely dispense/prescribe for patients who would benefit from the use of these herbs based on their professional justification and an evidence-based approach. Until now, the herbs have failed to receive the Ministerial approval in Victoria which may have been a basis for other States to consider similar arrangements.

With national registration now commenced from July 2012, this is now a national issue and a new strategy is needed to achieve access to those herbs for Chinese herbal medicine practitioners in Australia.

A useful first step might be to demonstrate our existing competency to prescribe. Recently, a Framework of Competencies required to prescribe medicines has been developed.  See www.nps.org.au/health-professionals/professional-development/prescribing-competencies-framework

The Prescribing Competencies Framework has as its origin of the World Health Organisation Guide to good prescribing, an international document developed for medical students and practitioners that has stood the test of time…’

So, in answer to the question when are we going to be able to use Fu Zi, Ma Huang and Ban Bian Lian? We don’t really know until there is a better understanding of the new (national) aspects that might provide us with a pathway to access… but it doesn’t look likely to be in the near future.

A small group of Chinese herbal medicine practitioners is considering forming a working party to offer assistance to the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia, professional organisations or the Chinese Medicine Industry Council  to achieve this goal.

We therefore seek your views on the Framework of Competencies required:

You can access the short survey by clicking on the link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LSNXWTM

The survey is anonymous and the result will be forwarded to the Chinese Medicine Registration Board to assist them in defining the next steps.

Your contribution is greatly appreciated, it takes approx 5 minutes to complete the survey.

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch call (03) 5956 9011 or info@safflower.com.au as well as Michael Warren michaelrwarren@me.com


1 Comment

  1. Will

    Hello. Please let me know of any progress as to the availability of Fu Zi. I have a complex condition which my chinese medical practitioner has said could be greatly improved provided i had access to this herb. I have been waiting for several years in hope of the availability of the herb and understand it has special qualities which cannot be produced by other herbs. I am very keen to receive updates and if there is anything i can do as a chinese medical patient to help make this herb available, please let me know.

    Thankyou kindly,


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