International Standards for Korean Medicine
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Korean Medicine to Be Globally Accessible through International Standardization

Moon Jin Suk, Ph.D., Standardization Expansion Team of the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine

The Ministry of Health and Welfare of Korea is conducting a project promoting the international standardization of Korean Medicine as part of a globalization promotion project for Korean Medicine. International standards are internationally authorized guidelines developed to facilitate an exchange of materials or services between countries, as well as to promote global collaboration in intellectual, scientific, technological, and economic activities. Through international standardization, Korean Medicine will also be accessible for other countries via seamless import and export of herbal medicine, medical devices, and Korean medicinal services.

The Ministry has therefore established the Strategical Roadmap for Standardization of Traditional Korean Medicine (2015-2024) that will develop terminology and medical information, herbal medicine, medical devices, and standardize items of Korean medicinal services along with create a corresponding action plan. Based on these activities, Korea has developed standards in the Korean Medicine field and has been continuously promoting ISO and World Health Organization (WHO) standardization activities.

To activate standardization measures, Korea has also fostered specialists by promoting education that cultivates experts for standardization of Korean Medicine, and hosting international collaboration conferences among countries that are actively developing international standards for traditional medicine.

In particular, the WHO has included names of diseases as well as differentiation and pattern classification systems associated with traditional medicine, including oriental medicine, in the 11th revised edition of International Classification of Diseases (ICD) which will be released this year. Additionally, ISO21371:2018 (Labeling requirements of products intended for oral or topical use) has been released-the international standard that has been carried out as Korea-Japan joint project-which is expected to be used as the standard for labeling herbal medicine products for import and export, as well as other herbal medicine products in the near future.

The World Trade Organization/Technical Barrier to Trade (WTO/TBT) Agreement recommends domestic technical regulations and standards to meet international standards in order to remove technical barriers that inhibit free movement of goods and services due to discrepancies in standards, technical regulations, certification processes, and inspection procedures.

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