Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) needs to prove its worth through rigorous clinical trials, according to the head of one of China’s largest herbal remedy companies, as a contentious new law to boost the $40bn sector comes into effect. TCM is estimated by analysts to account for a third of sales in China’s $117bn pharmaceutical market, the world’s second largest. But most of those sales are of relatively cheap over-the-counter drugs, with many Chinese hospital doctors reluctant to prescribe TCM remedies because of the lack of evidence for their effectiveness. China’s first law promising equal status for TCM and western medicine in the country’s state-dominated healthcare system comes into effect this weekend. Provisions include encouragement for hospitals to set up TCM centres, and a licensing system for practitioners, according to the Financial Times.