Pharmaceutical Medicine

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 373–377 | Cite as

ICD-11: Impact on Traditional Chinese Medicine and World Healthcare Systems

  • Wai Ching Lam
  • Aiping Lyu
  • Zhaoxiang BianEmail author
Current Opinion


World Health Organization (WHO) member states adopted the eleventh revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11) on 25 May 2019. Historically, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) was excluded from the ICD system. Including TCM in the ICD-11 is not only a landmark for the ICD but also a milestone for TCM: it enables the statistical data to cover information beyond Western medicine, thus reflecting the true situation of healthcare systems among member states of the WHO. This initiative is in line with the WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy (2014–2023), demonstrating that the WHO appreciates the past contribution of TCM to healthcare worldwide, and that it is responding to the current needs of its member states. Further, this action will have long-term impacts on TCM. It is a critical step not only because TCM may take this chance to be developed further among WHO member states, but also because TCM should benefit from improved service levels, education, research, and regulation. In addition, this initiative contributes to the progressive reform of the world healthcare system, from global extension of TCM to the integration of TCM with multiple Western medicine-based disciplines. People all over the world will benefit.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


The authors declare no funding support received in relation to this article.

Conflict of interest

Wai Ching Lam, Aiping Lyu and Zhaoxiang Bian declare no conflicts of interests that relate to this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chinese MedicineHong Kong Baptist UniversityHong KongChina

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