Chinese herbal medicine producer under fire after its product was exposed for failing to prevent COVID-19

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Photo taken on Feb. 28, 2021 shows Lianhua Qingwen traditional Chinese medicine capsules at a pharmacy in Kuwait City, Kuwait. Photo: Xinhua

Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical, Chinese medicine producer and supplier of Chinese herbal medicine Lianhua Qingwen suffers a blow after an influential health platform said on Sunday that the famous drug cannot prevent people from being infected with COVID-19 , contrary to what many people believed .

The Dingxiang Yisheng Health Platform published an article on Sunday saying that Lianhua Qingwen, which has been widely used to treat COVID-19 patients in China and is currently distributed to Shanghai residents, cannot prevent infections and advised the public not to take it as a preventive medicine. .

The drug can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rash. Fang Bangjiang, a doctor at Long Hua Hospital of Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine University, said Lianhua Qingwen contains complex ingredients and is mainly suitable for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms of fever and pneumonia, but not suitable for prevention. Its ingredients will affect the renal system.

Before the report was published and went viral on several social media platforms, Chinese internet influencer Wang Sicong said on Wednesday that the World Health Organization (WHO) had never recommended the drug as a treatment. of COVID-19. Wang’s words caused a stir on social media and the market value of Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical evaporated by 6.7 billion yuan ($1.05 billion) on Friday.

The company previously disclosed that Lianhua Qingwen accounts for more than 40% of the company’s revenue.

The pharmaceutical industry called on netizens to stay rational and said they had never made any public claims regarding the WHO’s recommendation for the drug. Studies have shown that the drug has a significant inhibitory effect on the original strain of coronavirus and variants like Delta and Omicron.

The company said the drug made outstanding contributions to treating SARS in 2003, H1N1 influenza in 2009, and the COVID-19 pandemic during its first outbreak in 2020. It has been recommended more than 20 times in treatment guides for various diseases, including six. for COVID-19 since 2020.

The company’s revenues increased by 50% in 2020 and in March the company ramped up production to supply the capsules needed for Hong Kong’s battle against Omicron.

Some residents of Shanghai, which is under strict epidemic control management due to a severe resurgence of the virus and has experienced food supply difficulties in some communities, also received boxes of capsules.

The drug, with a sharp increase in visibility since the COVID-19 outbreak, has left many people with the impression that it can prevent infections and its consumption among healthy people in Shanghai has reinforced this impression. .

Some said on the popular Sina Weibo platform that the back-to-back revelations of Lianhua Qingwen’s limitations contrasted with the public’s understanding of medicine created by the high profile. The drug has become a “star product” of the company and many people do not really differentiate between medical terms

The fact that no one disputed that the drug could be used for the treatment of COVID-19 only raised doubts about whether it was abused and its effects exaggerated.

When the facts contradict public opinion, it is a serious blow to the reputation of the drug and to the company’s market prices. Its distribution in Shanghai, which is still fighting an uphill battle against Omicron, was the explosive fuse, said a Weibo user.

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