The price of Chinese herbal medicines doubled, 1 kilogram of Chuanbei was more than 5,000 yuan, and doctors said that they did not dare to prescribe Chinese medicine to patients

The price of Chinese herbal medicines doubled, 1 kilogram of Chuanbei was more than 5,000 yuan, and doctors said that they did not dare to prescribe Chinese medicine to patients

In autumn and winter, a variety of respiratory diseases are "menacing", and many people "star" at Chuanbei, which has the effect of dissolving phlegm, relieving cough and asthma.

However, due to the fact that the price of Chinese herbal medicines in China has entered an upward cycle in recent years, the price of Chuanbei today has also surprised many people. "I want to buy some Chuanbei and put it at home to steam Sydney pears, but it costs 10 yuan a gram, is it so expensive now?"

Why is the price of Chinese medicinal materials such as Chuanbei rising so much?


The price of Chinese herbal medicines has doubled, and doctors say they dare not prescribe it to patients

"Now the market price of Chuanbei (Songtong) is 5,600 yuan/kg, and the furnace shellfish will be cheaper, 4,700 yuan per kilogram. "Bozhou, Anhui Province is famous for its abundance of Chinese herbal medicines, recently, Ms. Yang, a Chinese herbal medicine wholesaler in Bozhou, told reporters.

The reporter searched in the Chinese herbal medicine world network and found that in the past few years, the price of Chuanbei (Songtong) was maintained at more than 3,000 yuan per kilogram, and this year the price not only rose to more than 4,000 yuan, but also as high as more than 5,000 yuan in some months. Taking Bozhou Pharmaceutical Market as an example, the price of Chuanbei (Songtong) was as high as 5,200 yuan in August, and now it has fallen, but it has also remained at 5,000 yuan.

The price of Chinese herbal medicines doubled, 1 kilogram of Chuanbei was more than 5,000 yuan, and doctors said that they did not dare to prescribe Chinese medicine to patients

Bozhou Pharmaceutical Market, Songtong (Sichuan) Chuanbei price chart. Screenshot from Chinese herbal medicine world network.

Compared with Chuanbei, which has been at a high price, Ms. Yang said, "The price of Zhejiang shellfish has increased more significantly, and now it is 180 yuan per kilogram, which is dozens of yuan higher than last year." "Not only in Zhejiang, but also in the Bozhou Chinese herbal medicine market, among the more than 1,000 kinds of Chinese herbal medicines, the prices of hundreds of varieties have risen. Ms. Yang added.

According to the report released by the relevant industry associations in June, in Bozhou, Anhui, Anguo, Hebei, Chengdu, Sichuan, Yulin and other major Chinese herbal medicine wholesale trading markets, compared with the same period last year, there are more than 200 conventional varieties increased by more than 50%, 25 commonly used bulk medicinal materials increased by more than 200%, and individual varieties even increased by 4 to 9 times.

This wave of rising prices of Chinese herbal medicines is deeply experienced by a dermatologist at a traditional Chinese medicine hospital in Beijing. "The price of Chinese medicinal materials such as sour jujube kernel and astragalus has risen sharply, and sour jujube kernels for the treatment of insomnia and anxiety are not daring to prescribe to patients. For this flavor medicine, only 1 payment (30 grams) is prescribed, which costs 31 yuan, and 7 payments cost more than 200 yuan. If the patient uses a large amount, the price is more expensive. ”

Cat's claw is also one of the top varieties of Chinese herbal medicine. At the end of October, Xiao Jin (pseudonym) went to a local pharmacy to grab medicine for the treatment of pulmonary nodules, and was "stabbed" by the price of cat's claw.

The doctor said that the cat's claw in the pharmacy was 0.85 yuan a gram, which means that in less than a month, the cat's claw grass rose by 0.35 yuan a gram. Xiao Jin said, "The last 21 medicines, without cat's claw, cost about 400 yuan, this time if you add cat's claw, it may be nearly 1,000 yuan." ”

Judging from the monitoring data of the Chinese herbal medicine world, in the past few months, cat's claw grass has risen particularly rapidly. In the Anguo pharmaceutical market, the first quarter of the kilogram was still 85 yuan to 90 yuan, and in October, the kilogram has risen to 420 yuan. Since the second half of 2022, the price of jujube kernels mentioned by the above-mentioned doctor has soared, and now the price remains at 8 or 900 yuan per kilogram.


Why is the price increase of Chinese herbal medicines so "fierce"?

Since the beginning of this year, the prices of common Chinese medicinal materials such as angelica, codonopsis, bupleurum, licorice, atractylodes, and cat's claw have increased significantly, causing widespread concern.

Previously, the Chinese herbal medicine sour jujube kernel rose to 1,000 yuan per kilogram, and it was ridiculed, "It was originally a cure for insomnia, but I couldn't sleep after reading the price." Recently, when a medicinal herb grower in Fengtang Township, Zhoukou, Henan Province harvested Atractylodes, he was robbed by more than 100 people, and the party also mentioned that the purchase price of Atractylodes was higher this year.

In Ms. Yang's view, there are factors such as the reduction in the production of some Chinese herbal medicines, the need for daily health care, and human operation.

Taking Angelica sinensis as an example, in 2022, due to the reduction of Angelica sinensis and the weather, the yield of Angelica sinensis will be greatly reduced. The market is in short supply, resulting in the price of angelica continuing to rise this year.

The cyclical price cycle and the recovery of downstream consumer demand are also important influencing factors.

The Bozhou Traditional Chinese Medicine Decoction Pieces Industry Promotion Association previously mentioned that during the peak sales period under the influence of the law of cycles, the purchase and sales are often active, and the price of medicinal materials has risen due to the shortage of supply, and individual varieties have skyrocketed. The general rise in the market price of Chinese herbal medicines is at a cyclical high. In recent years, the recognition and application scope of traditional Chinese medicine at home and abroad have been expanding, which has also led to a continuous increase in the demand for Chinese herbal medicines. ”

The price of Chinese herbal medicines doubled, 1 kilogram of Chuanbei was more than 5,000 yuan, and doctors said that they did not dare to prescribe Chinese medicine to patients

Data map: Bupleurum blossoms. Photo by Zeng Linggang

Under the increase in market demand, the supply of Chinese herbal medicines is subject to factors such as difficulties in planting some Chinese herbal medicines, supply chain shortages, and improved quality standards of Chinese herbal medicines, resulting in insufficient supply and rising costs of Chinese herbal medicines, which in turn pushes up the prices of Chinese herbal medicines.

In addition, whether it is the wholesaler of medicinal materials interviewed by the reporter recently, or the report previously released by relevant associations in various places, it points to one factor: the influx of capital into speculation.

"The lack of investment channels for capital has prompted a large amount of capital from inside and outside the industry to flow into the speculation of agricultural products, especially in the field of Chinese herbal medicines, which has artificially caused the monopoly price of goods to skyrocket. Jia Haibin, chief analyst of Zhongkang Science and Technology Traditional Chinese Medicine Big Data Center, said that some financial and investment institutions have also taken advantage of the situation to carry out supply chain finance, warehouse receipt pledge, and even "leverage" to facilitate hoarding speculation.

Yuzhou City, Henan Province is one of the four major pharmaceutical capitals in China. Jia Shaowei, president of the Yuzhou Pharmaceutical Chamber of Commerce, also revealed in an interview with the media that the medicinal materials affected by the speculation funds have a common feature - the concentration of production areas. He used cat's claw grass as an example to explain, cat's claw grass is mainly produced in the Huaibin area of Henan Province, and the yield in other places is very small. After speculating funds to purchase and stock up from the place of origin, it can greatly affect the pricing of Chinese herbal medicines.

To this end, the proposal issued by the China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine in July made it clear that it resolutely opposes and will never participate in any form of improper or even illegal acts that disrupt the order of the medicinal materials market, such as raising and manipulating the price of medicinal materials, speculation and speculation.


After the crazy rise, can the Chinese herbal medicine market usher in a "cooling"?

The price of common Chinese herbal medicines has risen to push up the cost of raw materials for proprietary medicines. However, it is difficult to adjust the bidding and procurement price and terminal price of drugs in medical institutions in the short term, resulting in pharmaceutical companies being "squeezed at both ends" in raw material procurement, production and sales.

The reporter noticed that a number of pharmaceutical companies said on the investor interactive platform that the price of Chinese herbal medicines continued to rise, which put certain pressure on the company's production costs. Kangmei Pharmaceutical also mentioned that due to multiple factors such as the continuous rise in the price of domestic Chinese herbal medicine raw materials and the reduction of production in the production area, the gross profit of the company's traditional Chinese medicine decoction pieces decreased year-on-year under the condition that the purchase price of medical institutions remained unchanged.

In the face of the cost pressure brought about by the rise in raw material prices, pharmaceutical companies have also taken measures such as economic bulk purchases, increasing strategic procurement reserves, and establishing medicinal material planting bases.

The price of Chinese herbal medicines doubled, 1 kilogram of Chuanbei was more than 5,000 yuan, and doctors said that they did not dare to prescribe Chinese medicine to patients

Data map: American ginseng grows in a "heat insulation shed". Photo by Cang Yan

However, as the Bozhou Traditional Chinese Medicine Decoction Industry Promotion Association said, the high price of raw materials will not only reduce the production capacity of production enterprises, but also lay hidden dangers for the decline in the quality of traditional Chinese medicine. With the gradual production of new Chinese herbal medicines, the market supply and demand ratio is seriously out of balance, and the price index of Chinese herbal medicines is facing a sharp decline at any time, which eventually leads to a serious impact on the whole industrial chain of Chinese medicine.

According to the Kangmei China Chinese Herbal Medicine Price (Daily) Index, after rising to a high point in August 2023, the index has fluctuated and declined, and as of December 3, the index has fallen by about 6.8% from the August high.

With the increase in price decline varieties in recent months, some analysts said, "This is also a reminder to the industry, even if the market rises, the risk of falling still exists, once overcapacity, demand has not been greatly boosted, the market will eventually return to the normal market." ”

In Jia Haibin's view, as the country attaches great importance to the problem of soaring prices of Chinese herbal medicines, the "out of control" trend of Chinese herbal medicine prices is expected to be curbed in the short term. However, if the imbalance in the industrial chain structure is not solved, the price of Chinese herbal medicines will still fluctuate sharply in the medium and long term.

In order to cope with this dilemma, Jia Haibin believes that it is necessary to establish a unified national big data center for the traditional Chinese medicine industry as soon as possible to further play the role of market regulation. At the same time, the establishment of quality standards for different demand dimensions, the demand side to accelerate the docking with production and marketing, and supporting services also need to be quickly implemented.

From the perspective of the initiative of relevant industry associations, accelerating the construction of a strategic reserve of Chinese herbal medicines, creating a platform for the release of traditional Chinese medicine indexes, encouraging enterprises to establish planting bases for Chinese herbal medicines, extending the industrial chain of traditional Chinese medicine, and strengthening the supervision of the Chinese herbal medicine market have also become the way to "break the situation".

Editor: Zang He

Editor-in-charge: Song Fangcan

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