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July 8, 2010 / A10 Clinical Solutions, Inc.

Have Remedy, Will Travel. To China.

President and CEO Leah Brown poses for a quick photo in 2009 while taking in China's breathtaking scenery.

I was asked a couple of weeks ago to accompany one of my clients to China for a trade mission.  Initally, I was so excited to return to the country that I fell in love with last year but now I’m feeling weary.

Last year I travelled to Beijing with my VP of Clinical Research, Susan McCormick.  We travelled as representatives with the Chamber of Commerce with the dual role of uncovering potential partners to do business with.  We quickly realized it took the entire time to get acclimated to the country.  So many people, language barriers, food allergies…I felt more like a child lost in the woods rather than the sophisticated businesswoman I purported to be.

This time, though, I will be going to China as part of the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council Mission Trip.  NMSDC is provides a direct link between corporate America and minority-owned businesses.  NMSDC is one of the country’s leading business membership organizations.  It was chartered in 1972 to provide increased procurement and business opportunities for minority businesses of all sizes.  I have been a part of this organization for years and have gone on another mission with them two years ago to South Africa.

This time I will be better prepared.  Now that I know how to navigate the different cities I can now focus on business.

My purpose for  going to China is to find out how clinical trials are run, and how much Western medicine plays in this culture that is so steeped in a rich tradition of herbal remedies and healing teas.  We in the U.S. take medicines for granted as a way to remedy our ills.  We know that drugs have been tested thoroughly and approved by the FDA before they touch us, so we generally believe in their healing properties. 

As I look to grow A10, my clinical care/clinical research company, to an international level, I must carefully understand the histories, the cultural traditions, the personal and religious belief systems, medical care operations, clinical research policies, and much more for each and every culture where I engage A10.  It is important to me to be able to reach out to better understand various medical practices in the Chinese culture.

Although China is less economically developed than most Western countries, Chinese hospitals have the ability to deliver highly technical medical care. China has invested in modern medical equipment including such technical equipment as: CT scanners, MRIs and dialysis machines. Unfortunately, few patients can afford to use this equipment, even though modern medicines and vaccines are available in China at 5%-10% of U.S. prices, and domestically-produced generic brands there cost only pennies.

With little cash to afford conventional medicines and any expensive medical care, many residents of China resort to ancient remedies. Typically practiced are the following treatments: Acupuncture to increase circulation and balance energy within the body; Chinese food therapy using dietary recommendations for a balanced body (if you are diseased, you are unbalanced and will be prescribed certain food/herbs to restore balance to body); Chinese herbal medicine to attain a balanced body (typically using mushrooms), cupping (a particular massage); bone-setting for injuries such as bone fractures, sprains and bruises; and physical exercises such as standing meditation and yoga. These traditional Chinese diagnostics and treatments are cheaper than Western methods that usually require advanced equipment and medications.

One of my summer college interns, Sarah Beth, lived in China last summer with a group of other college students.  She found that when students in her group experienced common ailments such as nausea, food poisoning, spider bites, colds and sunburns, the Chinese students and other Chinese mentors frequently offered herbs and teas to alleviate her ailments, but often combined these traditional methods of relief with more Western-style medications.  She actually wanted to take some of their medications home with her, as they worked so well, but the TSA wouldn’t have it! 

It is important that I take this time to investigate and uncover the challenges and barriers that China’s healthcare system is facing and identify actions and strategies that are successful in meeting and overcoming these challenges and obstacles.  It is also imperative to understand that elements of Western medicine will not be rejected;  however, belief in Chinese medicine will always remain strong in maintaining health.  Certain medical knowledge in remote areas seems to be as much as 10 years behind the West.  Either way, both Western countries and China together can bridge the gap between clinical research and healthcare utilizing shared knowledge while engaging dissimilar medical practices. I hope A10 can be a part of that solution!

My goal is to attain knowledge of currently practiced Chinese medicine and ultimately reach out to their healthcare systems so that they can achieve the success they desperately need!  China is the number one economic super power with continual, intense development and growth.  It is important to increase business opportunities in this area to ultimately increase health-care awareness and budget capacity.  My mission is to bring A10 international and offer our services and expertise to China’s underserved population.  I am confident that we will bring attention to China’s healthcare!

I am grateful for the opportunity to venture out into China’s healthcare system with a great team accompanying me!  I look forward to increasing my current knowledge of their medical sector while on my mission trip and will undoubtedly return to the U.S. with a greater appreciation and understanding of both non-Western and Western medicines. Although I will certainly be eager to use more traditional remedies at home, I will be quick to visit my doctor and take FDA approved drugs if needed.

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3 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. roulette / Jul 26 2010 11:09 pm

    This brings me to an idea:…

  2. Ambrose Holmes / Sep 16 2010 12:15 am

    This brings me to an idea:…
    +1

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