Pharmaceutical Medicine

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 369–371 | Cite as

Including Traditional Chinese Medicine Diagnoses in ICD-11 May Not Advance the Evaluation of Traditional Chinese Medicine Therapies

  • Stewart GearyEmail author


The inclusion of a traditional medicine chapter based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) has elicited a range of reactions, from condemnation that the World Health Organization (WHO) is embracing the “integration of quackery with real medicine” [1] to expressions of hopeful envy from practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine [2]. As a specialist in pharmaceutical medicine, I do not consider myself a neutral party in any debate about the role of TCM within medical care or drug development, but living in Tokyo, where my home is a few blocks from a popular TCM pharmacy, I appreciate that there is a substantial use of these therapies especially in Asia. I would like to suggest that the addition of Chapter 26 on TCM in ICD-11 is unlikely to have the effects described by either its advocates or opponents.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Codes in the International Classification of Diseases 11th...


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No sources of funding were used to support the writing of this commentary.

Conflict of interest

Stewart Geary is an employee of Eisai Co., Ltd but has no financial interest for or against Traditional Chinese Medicine.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eisai Co., Ltd.TokyoJapan

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