Drug used for mild COVID-19 cases in China approved in PH as traditional medicine

The first registered traditional Chinese medicine in the Philippines – Lianhua Qingwen, used in China for mild cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – was formally launched in the country Monday.

In the virtual launch, it was announced that the product is currently in the market and now available in a local drugstore and will soon be available in two more big drug stores in the country.

Lianhua Qingwen, manufactured by Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., is the first traditional Chinese medicine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the country.

While it was used for mild COVID-19 patients in China, it is only registered as traditional medicine in the country that can be used by patients with respiratory tract infections and symptoms like difficulty in breathing, fever, muscle soreness, and runny nose.

It will be distributed by its official distributor in the country, the Philippine Archipelago International Trading Corporation. Its FDA registration is valid until February, 2021.

During a webinar, Zhang Yunling, the executive deputy general manager of Yiling Pharmaceutical, stated that Lianhua Qingwen has already entered close to 20 countries and regions such as Canada, Mozambique, Romania, Thailand, Ecuador, Singapore, among others.

“The approval of the Lianhua Qingwen in the Philippines is a very important step by Yiling Pharmaceutical in its globalization. The partnership with Philippine Archipelago will surely help a lot of Filipino citizens,” Yunling said.

As it brings the traditional Chinese medicine in the country, Olivia Limpe-Aw, president of the Philippine Archipelago International Trading Corporation, reminded the public to buy only from legitimate sources.

The medicine may only be bought in licensed pharmacies and must be prescribed by an S2 licensed doctor.

“I guess the best way to ensure that it is authentic is not to buy it from unlicensed sources because we don’t guarantee that it’s officially registered. We also worked with various government agencies, we have to give them information on the prevalence of this unregistered product in the black market for the safety of the public,” Limpe-Aw said. 

“Buy it from legitimate distributors or sources. Buy from your legitimate drug stores and you will be safe,” she added, noting that the legitimate product is packed in a packaging with English text.

Limpe-Aw added that they have already requested that it be classified “an over-the-counter drug due to the need.”

Asked about the future of traditional Chinese medicine in the country, Limpe-Aw said “there’s a big future for traditional Chinese medicine because it’s just the beginning. We’re just starting.”

“As I said the silver lining to this COVID-19 is we discovered traditional Chinese medicine and how it can be effective, affordable, and very helpful for our country,” she added.

According to the distributor, a box of the medicine costs P288 and is currently available in Southstar Drug stores. It will soon be available in Mercury Drug stores and Watsons.