Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chinese Herb Prices

You may have noticed that prices for Chinese medicinal herbs have gone through painful cost increases. We feel the pain too, and have done the best we can to make sure herbs are affordable for your patients. But the reality is that the days of cheap Chinese herbs are gone forever. However this increased cost comes with many benefits. The money goes to pay for:
  • Higher standards for correct species identification, correct growing area, herb farms with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification
  • Herbs free of pesticides and preservatives, including sulfur, as well as testing and documentation.
  • Exclusive contracts with growers and herbs grown to specification, which ensures fresher herbs. Other pharmacies may buy herbs from distributors with no exclusive contracts, which means they must buy herbs on the open market. The Chinese herb market is huge, and herbs may change hands many many times and sit in storage for months and years before they make their way to the U.S. Fat Turtle is at the tail end of a very short supply chain, from grower to processor to distributor to us and on to you and your patients.
  • Higher wages and benefits for the workers who labor in the field to grow our herbs, and for the people who wash, slice, dry and package the raw herbs for pharmacy use. Many of us here in the U.S. are aware that our habits of buying and consumption have the potential to be ruinous to the health of our brothers and sisters on the other side of the globe. This awareness has led to the development of fair trade programs for products as diverse as coffee, chocolate, soap and cotton. Although there are not yet any fair trade certifications for Chinese herbs, you can be sure that part of your herb dollar goes to support healthy communities in the environments where they are grown and processed.