Public attitudes toward traditional Chinese medicine and how they affect medical treatment choices in Hong Kong

Kara Chan*, Lennon Tsang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
866 Downloads (Pure)



This study aims to test a conceptual model using public attitudes toward biomedicine and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to predict respondents’ medical treatment choice. 


A quantitative online survey was conducted using quota sampling. Altogether 1,321 questionnaires from Hong Kong residents of age 15 years or above were collected. 


Attitudes toward biomedicine in relation to TCM and perceived cost of TCM consultation were found to be significant variables in predicting respondents’ medical treatment choice of treatment. Perceived efficacy of TCM, however, was not a significant predictor. Older respondents, as well as respondents with higher education, were less likely to consult biomedicine first when ill. They were also less likely to consult biomedicine exclusively. 

Research limitations/implications

This study uses a convenience sample recruited through personal networks. The findings cannot be generalized to the rest of the population. 

Practical implications

Respondents in the study generally perceived TCM’s efficacy to be high, but not high enough to make it the medical treatment of choice. To promote TCM in Hong Kong, there is a need to enhance trust in it. This can be achieved through strengthening scientific research and development of TCM, enhancing professional standards of TCM practitioners and educating the public about the qualifications of TCM practitioners. Strategic channel planning to reach potential target and reducing the time cost of TCM medication should be examined. 


The study is the first to relate attitudes to and perceptions of TCM with medical treatment choices in Hong Kong.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-125
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Health Policy
  • Marketing

User-Defined Keywords

  • Health services marketing
  • Medical treatment choice
  • Public attitudes
  • Quantitative study
  • Traditional Chinese medicine


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