A Chinese-made herbal drug used in the mainland to treat COVID-19 is still being monitored in the Philippines for safety even after it was registered with local regulators, the head of a doctors' group said Thursday.
Lianhua Qinwgwen -- made from a Chinese root, flower and fruit -- needs the consent of COVID-19 patients or their families before being administered, said Philippine College of Physicians President Mario Panaligan.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila announced on its Facebook page that Lianhua Quiwgwen was registered with the Food and Drug Administration. According to the registration document, it helps relieve "heat toxin invasion of the lungs, including symptoms such as fever, aversion to cold, muscle soreness, stuffy and runny nose." There was no mention of COVID-19.
"Iko-consider pa rin po natin siyang investigational. Hihingan po natin ng informed consent ang pasyente, kamag-anak para alam nilang kailangan ng mas malawak na pag-aaral ((We consider it investigational. We need informed consent from the patient, relatives so that they now that this needs wider study)," Panaligan told Teleradyo
He cited a Chinese study that claimed the Lianhua Qinwgwen reduced the recovery period and eased the fever of around 200 COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms, after they took the drug 12 times a day for 14 days.
"Bagama't mayroon na ngang isang study na nagsabi na puwede po siyang makatulong, kailangan po rin nating malaman kung safe siya, talagang walang halong side effect (While there is a study saying that it helps, we need to know that it is safe and has no side effects)," he said.
The Director-General of the FDA, Eric Domingo said herbal medicines should be in use for at least 50 years before it gets approval in the country, according to an ABS-CBN News report.
The capsule, which can only be bought in drugstores with a doctor's prescription, is available in Hong Kong and Macao SAR of China, Brazil, Indonesia, Canada, Mozambique, Romania, Thailand, Ecuador, Singapore, and Laos PDR.