Internationalization of Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Global Challenge
Gerhard Franz

Gerhard Franz

Chairman of Herbal Medicine Committee, Germany; Pharmacopoeia Chair Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Regensburg, Germany.

Professor Gerhard Franz was born in Dresden, Germany in 1937. He received his B.S. in Pharmacy from Technical University in Karlsruhe, Germany and was named a Fellow of the “Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst” Ph.D. in Plant Biochemistry from University of Fribourg, Switzerland in 1965. With a fellowship from “Fonds Nationale Suisse” (Swiss National Science Foundation), he held the position of a postdoctoral fellow at University of California, Berkeley in USA, working in the lab of Prof. Z. Hassid on biochemistry of carbohydrates. After his return to Switzerland, he was appointed as “Chef de Travaux”, continuing research on the structure and biosynthesis of carbohydrates to fulfil the requirements of a “Habilitation” for Plant Biochemistry. From 1970 to 1976, he was Assistant Professor at the Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland. From 1973 to 1975, he was Guest Professor at University of Basel, Switzerland. Since 1977, he had been a faculty member at Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Regensburg, Germany. He participated in the establishment of the Department of Pharmacy in 1977. He was Chair Professor for Pharmacognosy in Department of Pharmacy (1977-2005), the Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy (1985-1988) and served as a member of the Senate (1986-1988). He was Guest Professor at Université de Grenoble, France (1987-1988) and Visiting Professor in University of Harbin, China (2009-2012).

Professor Franz has focused his research on analysis, quality control and standardization of European medicinal plants. In 1993, he was nominated as Member of the German Governmental Commission E, the first group of experts with the task to elaborate official monographs on the safety and efficacy of herbal drugs utilized in Europe. After two years, he became Vice-President of the Commission (1993-2004). Since 1988 to date, he has been serving as Chairman of the Section Pharmazeutische Biologie (Pharmacognosy) of German Pharmacopoeia (DAB). In 1990, he was invited to be a member of the German Pharmacopoeia Commission at the “Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel and Medizinprodukte” in Bonn, Germany. He was President of the International Society of Medicinal Plant Research (1994-1998); in 2006, he was awarded Honorary Membership in this Society. Professor Franz was nominated in 1992 by the Council of Europe as Member of the European Pharmacopeia Commission in Strasbourg, France; he was Chairman of the newly created Phytochemistry Group of Experts 13B from 1992 to 2005. In 2006, he was nominated by the European Pharmacopeia Commission as Chairman of the newly created TCM Working Party, and he held that position for ten years until 2016. His active involvement in the field of TCM research started in 2005, when the European Pharmacopeia Commission decided to include quality monographs on TCM herbal drugs in its work programme. Meanwhile, Professor Franz inaugurated a similar programme for the National German Pharmacopeia DAB. He conducted research on this, at the time a new field, for the urgent national needs to provide high quality standards and safe utilization of CMM for patients in Germany. Most of the monographs elaborated at the national level in Germany were transferred in the following years to the European Pharmacopoeia. Under his guidance, the TCM work programme of the European Pharmacopeia Commission elaborated 70 TCM herbal drug monographs, which were implemented during the period from 2006 to 2017. The monographs become the legal basis for TCM practitioners in all member states of European Union. Professor Franz initiated contacts and collaborations with the Chinese State Administration of TCM and Professor Guo De-an (from Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica and the Executive Committee of Chinese Pharmacopoeia; an awardee of the Third Cheung On Tak International Award for Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Medicine), one of the leaders in the field of TCM modernization. It was an optimal link to the ongoing progress and modernization of TCM research in China.

With his experience in the field of herbal drug quality management mainly with TCM items, Professor Franz was nominated in 2008 a member of International Advisory Board for Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards where he is still active currently, being the link to the European Pharmacopoeia. His efforts to modernize TCM herbal drugs were well documented in several publications and in many invited Plenary and Key Note lectures in major international conferences around the globe. Professor Franz had many editorial activities in highly respected international journals, including the World Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Journal of Traditional and Kampo Medicine, Planta Medica and others. Over 280 SCI papers have been published.

Professor Franz received a series of Scientific Awards during his academic career. He won the first Egon Stahl Award (Silver Medal) in 1985, the Sebastian Kneipp Award in 1994, the Bundesverdienstkreuz (the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) in 1998. He was awarded the Hermann Thoms Award by “Deutsche Pharmazeutische Gesellschaft” (German Pharmaceutical Society) in 2003. In 2014, he received a Silver Medal from “Academie Française de Pharmacie” for his long-lasting contribution at the European Pharmacopoeia as well as an Honorary Membership by the Good Practice in TCM Research Association. He received the Annual Award by the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies in 2015. In 2017, he was awarded Qihuang International Award by the China Association of Chinese Medicine and the Lesmüller Medaille by the ABDA - Federal Union of German Associations of Pharmacists.

Professor Franz has over 45 years of experience in teaching in the pharmacy education of many student generations. He has supervised many postdoctoral fellows coming from many universities around the world. He had over 60 Ph.D. students, some of whom are professors in different universities in Germany while some occupy important positions in the industry.