Taiwan will not allow Chinese medical personnel to practice medicine or obtain medical certificates as Taipei and Beijing prepare to sign an agreement on medical and health cooperation next week, a government official said yesterday.
The planned accord is scheduled to be signed when Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) meets his Chinese counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) in Taipei next week.
Department of Health Vice Minister Hsiao Mei-ling (蕭美玲), invited by the Mainland Affairs Council to hold a press brief on the planned accord, said bilateral negotiations on the deal had been conducted under five principles.
The first principle is that medical cooperation between the two sides does not involve the cultivation of medical professionals. Medical personnel from China will not be allowed to obtain professional certificates in Taiwan, nor will they be able to practice medicine. Chinese investors will not be allowed to establish hospitals in Taiwan and Chinese hospitals will not be eligible to receive Taiwanese health insurance payments.
Hsiao said the proposed accord would cover four areas: prevention of infectious diseases, the management and development of drug safety, emergency rescue operations and the study of Chinese medicine and its safety management.
In a bid to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, Hsiao said Taipei and Beijing would exchange related information regularly. At the time of an outbreak, one side would be able to get the most recent information from the other. Both sides would also cooperate on the study and development of vaccines.
On the management and development of drug safety, Hsiao said the two sides would establish a mechanism whereby they would inform each other of related information and jointly crackdown on counterfeit drugs. Both sides would also join forces to ensure drug safety and quality following international standards. Another cooperation area is clinical experiments on new drugs, she said.
Since more than 90 percent of Taiwan’s Chinese herbal medicines are imported from China, Hsiao said the safety of these products is important. Chinese exporters must produce papers to prove their safety and the safety checks must meet international standards, she said.
While some worry that Chinese exporters might forge the documents, Huang Lin-huag (黃林煌), chairman of the health ministry’s Committee on Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy, said the products would undergo three rounds of inspection — at the manufacturer, at customs and random inspections when they are marketed.
Questioned on the effectiveness of the agreement, in view of the fact that Taiwan still has not received any compensation from China for the losses it suffered in the tainted milk incident, despite having signed a food safety agreement, Hsiao said that the compensation case was a civil affair that was still unfolding.