Hospitals that practice traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) must desist from making exaggerated claims about the efficacy of their treatments, an official with the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine said on Friday.
Describing treatments as "uniquely effective" or having a "secret formula" is no longer permitted, Xu Zhiren said at a press briefing in Beijing.
Before any hospital can promote itself as having specialist knowledge in the treatment of a particular disease, it must get approval from a TCM administration of at least provincial level, he said.
Also, all hospital departments must be clearly named and not use vague descriptions of their activities such as "combined TCM and Western medical treatments", he said.
In the past, a lot of confusion was caused by hospitals claiming to use both TCM and Western techniques, as it was impossible to tell which had been effective in curing the particular condition, Xu said.
"We want to make the best use of TCM.
"For example, it is known to be effective in helping women who suffer from period pains, so patients should be able to access these treatments at a clearly named 'gynecology' department," he said.
China has about 3,000 TCM hospitals across the country, and regular checks will be made to ensure they are providing clear and truthful information to patients, he said.