A total of 5,700 proprietary Chinese medicines that were manufactured or sold locally on or before March 1999 have secured a transitional registration with the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong. Another 1,800 proprietary Chinese medicines that were released into the market after that date have been given a 'non-transitional registration' status by the council. Proprietary medicine is any product in which the active ingredient is a Chinese herb, formulated in a finished dose form for the prevention or treatment of diseases or the maintenance of body functions. The council said it had assessed all 16,200 applications received since the registration system was implemented in December 2003 to ensure product safety and quality. Gloria Tam, a member of the Chinese medicines board of the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong, said yesterday that it was believed the 16,200 applications covered the majority of proprietary Chinese medicines in Hong Kong. 'The stricter requirement for the non-transitional scheme is inevitable, as late-comers should be bound by a higher standard,' she said. Dr Tam said the council had not yet fixed a date by which all the products must be registered. She said the council had to wait until all the applications had been processed. Among the 16,200 applications, 14,000 were filed for transitional registration, of which 5,700 were approved and 100 failed their test. The rest were mostly pending cases, awaiting further support documents on the applicant's commercial status or hygiene standards. Consumers can identify the registered products by the registration number style 'HKP-XXXXX' on the package. Another 22,000 'non-transitional registration' applications, submitted for medicines produced or sold in Hong Kong after March 1, 1999, were subject to a higher safety and hygiene benchmark than the transitional registration applicants. About 1,800 have already met the requirements, and were authorised to print on the package of their products a serial number in the style 'HKNT-XXXXX'.