Herbal Pharmaceutical Industry in Asia

Reformulating Drugs for the Global Market

24-27 June 2013, Macao, P.R. China

Double Panel to be held during the 8th edition of the International Convention of Asian Scholars (ICAS8).


Links: http://www.icas8.com/ and http://www.icassecretariat.org/.



Workshop Macao

This workshop will examine drug reformulation in the Asian herbal industry as a form of alternative modernity which contrasts in key ways with the molecular paradigm that has dominated pharmaceutical inventions since WWII. Since the early twentieth century, traditional herbal formulations in Asia have often been redesigned to foster new domestic markets, to facilitate the exportation of medicines and to answer the needs of an ever increasing number of global consumers. The Asian herbal industry wished to demonstrate its excellence by complying with "good manufacturing practices", sought WHO and FDA certifications and entered into vast transnational networks. However, the extension of procedures for pharmaceutical production and for standardizing laboratory practices in this sector is by large original. The Ayurvedic, Chinese, Tibetan or again Kampo herbal pharmaceutical industries produce new regimes of compound-based drug discovery which mix, transform and overlap medical cultures and traditions. This has involved the creation of heterodox-, 'transcultural epistemologies', which have then allowed the creation of new "traditional" products, the indications of which draw increasingly from biomedicine categories.

These newly formulated drugs are the object of specific systems of appropriation (through patent, the building of 'legal' databases, proprietary protection by trademarks, etc.), which have not only gained central stage in countries like India and China, but also influenced international regulatory bodies. At the same time, this industry is constrained by national and international regulatory environments, which play an important role in shaping innovation processes, as well as the production and diffusion of drugs. This panel therefore seeks to explore the way by which the Asian herbal industry is subjected to a variety of regulatory environments as much as it has fostered the emergence of alternative models of property rights, and their global acceptance, as well as to how in turn, these new forms of property have today come to drive pharmaceutical innovation itself. By providing historical and anthropological analysis of the mutual reinforcement between innovation patterns, market construction and legal protection in India, China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, this workshop aims to set out new research avenues to study the industrialization of traditional medicine and the complex interface between regulatory systems, innovation processes, and the market.


Participants and talks

  • Assembling Diasporic Science or Making Herbs a Global Business: CGCM and the Regulatory Globalization of Chinese Medicine
    Wen-Hua Kuo (National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan)
  • Plants, the Practices of Reformulation and the Construction of Ayurvedic Markets: The Trajectory of Jeevani and other Polyherbals
    Jean-Paul Gaudillière (Inserm-EHESS, Cermes3, Paris)
  • Herbal Pharmaceutical Industry in Korea: Particularities and Universalities over Commercialized Herbal Medicines
    Eunjeong Ma (Pohang University of Science and Technology)
  • Pharmaceuticalizing Practices of the Sacred in Globalized Tibetan Medicine
    Vincanne Adams (University of California San Francisco)
  • From Kampo to "Scientific Chinese Medicine": A Case of Pharmaceutical Development in Transnational East Asian Context
    Hsueh-Yi Lin (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Globalising Kampo: The Possibilities and Limits to Translation in Global Markets
    Maki Umemura (Cardiff University)
  • Reformulation and the Cognitive Process of Translation
    Francis Zimmermann (EHESS, Paris)
  • Patterns and Constraints of Drug Discovery in the Ayurvedic Industry. Innovation, Global Markets and Proprietary Medicines
    Laurent Pordié (CNRS, Cermes3, Paris)

Download the programme and abstracts



Laurent Pordié (CNRS, Cermes3, Paris)


Funding bodies

Jointly funded by the Cermes3 (CNRS/EHESS/Inserm) in Paris and the Cluster of Excellence 'Asia & Europe' in Heidelberg.

Logo Heidelberg     Cermes3



The Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel, Estrada da Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança, s/n, Taipa, Macao SAR, P.R. China.