AMID the proliferation of “Lianhua Qingwen” online, the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday warned the public anew against using the Chinese traditional medicine without prescription.
The medicine is being illegally being promoted as a treatment for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). It contains ephedrine, a component of the addictive drug methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu.”
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration approved the entry of Lianhua Qingwen in the country as a Chinese traditional medicine which the manufacturer said can “help remove heat toxin invasion of the lungs, including symptoms such as fever, aversion to cold, muscle soreness, stuffy and runny nose.” The FDA the prescription drug is not registered as a cure for COVID-19.
“There are many sellers online of Lianhua Qingwen and we advise the the public to just buy in authorized drugstores, and have your physicians prescribe it for you,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“Do not take them just because you heard that it can be used. You need the doctors to tell you if you should be taking them or not,” she added.
On the ephedrine content of Lianhua Qingwen, Vergeire said the Dangerous Drugs Board has issued a resolution saying it does not object to the registration of Lianhua Qingwen as long as a license will be secured by the importer with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
“They provided an additional layer for manufacturers of Lianhua Qingwen because of this specific component of ephedrine included in the medicine,” she said.
“It can only be prescribed by a physician with a PDEA S2 license and can only be dispensed by drugstores licensed by FDA and PDEA,” added Vergeire.