MANILA — Following reports of the popularity of traditional Chinese medicine Lianhua Qingwen as an alleged treatment for COVID-19, the Department of Health (DOH) said it has yet to be registered or approved in the Philippines.
The FDA issued on May 6 an advisory warning against the purchase and use of the drug, the DOH said in a statement to media on Friday.
“FDA Post-Marketing Surveillance (PMS) activities have verified that this drug product has not gone through the registration and testing process of the Agency and has not been issued with proper authorization in the form of Certificate of Product Registration. Thus, FDA cannot guarantee its quality and safety at this time,” it added.
Some Chinese medical experts claim the efficacy of Lianhua Qingwen as it supposedly increases the recovery rate of patients.
But a South China Morning Post article said it is a controversial traditional medicine that has not yet proven its medical efficacy through rigorous clinical trials as the company behind it seeks to expand overseas.
The article said that it has become part of China’s standard therapy for COVID-19 patients and have even been included in care packages sent to Chinese students overseas.
However, since it is not yet registered with the Food and Drug Administration, it cannot be sold in the Philippines.
The said FDA advisory states that “the public is advised not to purchase the aforementioned violative product” since that will be in violation of Republic Act No. 9711 or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009.”
“All concerned establishments and/or entities are warned not to distribute the above-identified violative drug product until they have already been covered by the appropriate authorization, otherwise, regulatory actions and sanctions shall be strictly pursued,” the FDA said.
Back in May, there was a report that a warehouse in Cavite filled with Lianhua Qingwen was raided by the police for violating the said law.
The FDA advised the public to use the search feature on its website to check if a drug product is registered before purchasing it.
Reference to South China Morning Post story