OK, folks, don’t get too excited.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday clarified that traditional Chinese medicine Lianhua Qingwen was approved for use in the Philippines to treat fever and a string of other illnesses but it is not meant to be used against COVID-19.
FDA Director-General Eric Domingo told CNN Philippines that the medicine, which is used in China to treat mild and moderate COVID-19 cases, should be used only against illnesses that are written in its certification. The medicine’s Philippine license says that it “helps remove heat-toxin invasion of the lungs, including symptoms such as fever, aversion to cold, muscle soreness, stuffy and runny nose.”
However, in the announcement of the Chinese Embassy in Manila released yesterday, it touted Linhua Qingwen as “an approved #COVID19 treatment” in its country of origin.
“It is our sincere hope that its entrance into the Philippine market will contribute to the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in this country and help the patients with mild and moderate symptoms recover,” the Embassy added.
The Embassy also said that it is looking forward to the time when traditional Chinese medicine “would play a bigger role to support the efforts of the Philippine government and its people to fight against COVID-19 until the final victory.”
Apparently, the Embassy must have misunderstood the license that the medicine has received from the FDA. In an interview with cable channel ANC, Domingo reiterated that Linhua Qingwen is not meant to treat COVID-19, at least in the Philippines.
“[Distributors] cannot put in the packaging that this is an anti-COVID product. There’s no medicine yet for us labeled as an anti-COVID product,” Domingo said.
He added that even asymptomatic COVID-19 patients shouldn’t use the medicine.
“Not even our traditional Chinese medicine practitioners would prescribe it for asymptomatic [COVID-19 patients] and definitely, not for prevention. It’s usually for people with mild respiratory tract symptoms,” he explained.
The Philippines has the most number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia, with 143,749 as of yesterday, including 68,997 recoveries and 2,404 dead.