OBJECTIVES: This study examines the role and value of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the current health care system in China. METHODS: Based on literature review and publicly available data in China. RESULTS: The study shows that TCM is well integrated in the Chinese health care system as one of the two mainstream medical practices. Also, the Chinese government is supportive of TCM development by increasing investment in TCM research and administration. However, there is downsizing of TCM utilization, a lack of TCM professionals with genuine TCM knowledge and skills, and limitations of and increasing public opinions on modernization and westernization. CONCLUSIONS: TCM is still facing many challenges in playing critical roles in improving public health in China. These challenges can be explained from different perspectives. In addition to the unique characteristics of TCM, economic, cultural, and historical evolution in China may also be major determinants.
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