China is set to approve the first batch of herbal medicines for use in cancer treatment, the country’s government said Tuesday, marking a major step toward opening up the countrys medical system to the public.
The approvals came after years of delays and delays.
China has long been one of the worlds largest users of medicinal products.
In 2012, the National Health and Family Planning Commission approved the first three herbal products approved by the National Bureau of Medical Research (NBMR), an independent health authority.
The approval came in conjunction with the Chinese Ministry of Health, which was overseeing the approval process, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The approvals come just months after China launched a new program to make herbal medicine available in pharmacies.
China’s herbal medicine market has been booming in recent years, with sales surging from around 2.5 billion to more than 3.2 billion by 2020.
Some analysts estimate that the market could reach 5 billion by 2030.
The approval comes as China has been working on a national medical marijuana program.
The program is expected to launch in 2020.
China, which has seen a rapid rise in cases of cancer in recent decades, is considering legalizing medicinal marijuana as a treatment for several ailments, including cancer, and is also working on legislation that would make it easier to grow and sell medicinal marijuana.
A growing number of Chinese hospitals and clinics are also now using herbal medicine to treat cancer patients.
“We are committed to creating a new medical market for medicinal herbs, and our new medical marijuana programs will also serve as a model for other countries to take similar measures,” the Chinese government said in a statement.
In March, China approved the third batch of medicinal herbs for use for cancer.
A new drug is expected later this year.
The government said the approvals were for a new class of herbal medicine called kuang, or “healing herbs,” which were developed by a Chinese company and approved by NBMR.