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Chinese military buys traditional medicine

BEIJING, June 24 (UPI) -- Renhuang Pharmaceuticals, a Chinese developer of biopharmaceuticals and traditional Chinese medicines, has won a 1-year contract to supply Chinese military hospitals.

The contract is worth an expected $600,000 this year, rising to around $1.2 million for 2011, a company statement said.

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Renhuang will supply the Guangzhou Military District with plant-based shengmai granules, Tianma headache tablets, a number of Siberian ginseng products and an unspecified gynecological medication.

The Guangzhou Military District is one of the most important of China's military administrative regions. It includes military hospitals and other medical facilities in the south-central provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong and Hainan, as well as in Hong Kong and Macau.

The order for the military is a breakthrough for the company, Shaoming Li, chairman and chief executive officer of Renhuang, said.

"We will continue our efforts to secure additional supply contracts from Guangzhou Military District and other military procurement networks, which represent an attractive growth and expansion opportunity given the significant size of the Chinese military.

"Our ability to build a relationship with military procurement networks demonstrates the value of our innovative sales strategies and will further diversify Renhuang's sales channels."

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Renhuang Pharmaceuticals, based in the city of Harbin in the extreme northeast province of Heilongjiang, specializes in Siberian ginseng medicines, which, despite the name, aren't true ginseng-based products.

Siberian ginseng is a distant relative of American and Asian ginsengs but a distinct plant. It is common in Helongjiang province but not in abundance elsewhere in China. It often is used to ward off depression and melancholy, to improve memory, combat fatigue and aid sleep. Siberian ginseng also is said to improve male virility.

The sugar-coated, bitter Tianma headache tablets have similar affects to aspirin and are used for treating migraines, vascular and tension headaches and headaches due to stress.

Sweet-tasting shengmai granules are said to strengthen a person's "Qi", or vital energies, and are used to treat palpitation, shortness of breath and sweating.

Within China, Renhuang Pharmaceuticals has more than 3,000 distributors and 70 sales centers for its botanical anti-depression and nerve-regulation products, biopharmaceutical products and botanical antibiotic traditional medicines.

All products are produced at production facilities in Ah City, Dongfanghong and Qingyang in factories that are certified under international Good Manufacturing Practice guidelines, it said.

GMP is part of a quality system covering the manufacture and testing of active pharmaceutical ingredients, diagnostics, foods, pharmaceutical products and medical devices. GMPs outline aspects of production and testing that can impact the quality of a product.

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Many countries have legislated that pharmaceutical and medical device companies must follow GMP procedures and have created their own national GMP guidelines.

GMP standards are enforced in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration.

The World Health Organization version of GMP is used by pharmaceutical regulators and the pharmaceutical industry in more than 100 countries, primarily in the developing world.

In January 2008, the China's State Food and Drug Administration toughened its criteria for gaining GMP certification. It no longer tolerated the detection of any "severe defects" during a GMP accreditation process. One severe defect now means automatic failure.

Before, it took three defects for a failure of accreditation.

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