The COVID-19 infection rate recently surpassed 7,000 new daily cases for the third consecutive day, also making it the highest daily tally in the last seven months. This is not the time to let our guards down and in fact, there is a need to respond to the situation urgently and with great caution to effectively manage and control the spread of the virus.
Under Regulation No.1 Series of 2021, the Committee on Reclassification of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) removed Lianhua Qingwen capsules from the list of dangerous drugs for a period of one (1) year pursuant to section 93 of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002. Lianhua Qingwen may treat COVID-19 symptoms. This DDB Regulation is scheduled to take effect on March 27, 2021.
It comes at a time wherein we need all the help we can get to curb the surge and bring it down to more manageable levels. This was done after Phil. Archipelago Intl. Trading Corp. took a proactive approach and requested the Office of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the reclassification of Lianhua Qingwen capsules to over the counter (OTC) to make them more accessible to Filipinos while waiting for more vaccines to be delivered to the country. This was referred to the DDB and they favorably recommended this after conducting a public hearing, in-depth discussions, and a thorough evaluation.
According to Philip Tan-Gatue, medical director of the Philippine Archipelago International Trading Corp. and clinical assistant professor at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, COVID-19 also has an element of constrained qi. At a previous event, Tan-Gatue, also a Traditional Chinese Medicine specializing physician, related it to driving a car: It’s like stepping on the gas pedal, but having the hand brake up and you’re not moving. There is heat — not because there is fire — but because something that is supposed to move freely is not moving; it’s stuck. That is like constrained qi. This constrained qi produces heat in the body.
So, according to him, you need one herb to treat the fire and one to bring out the qi. Lianhua Qingwen is a medicine of cold nature, and it relieves “toxic lung heat.” “Toxic” can be thought of as pus and “lung heat” refers to a high level of heat in the lungs. So, if a COVID-19 patient experiences symptoms of hot nature as a result of constrained qi, then Lianhua Qingwen may help treat those symptoms.
In the meantime, while awaiting the decision of the FDA on whether they will reclassify it as OTC, Lianhua Qingwen’s current classification is Prescription Drug (Rx) — requiring a doctor’s prescription. Prescription-holding consumers may purchase in all Mercury drug stores nationwide and other drug stores at a suggested retail price of P288.00/box (24 capsules/box).
Have more questions on Lianhua Qingwen? Check out the answers from a Chinoy doctor here.
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