COVID-19 and TCM: Thailand and Laos embrace China-approved Lianhua Qingwen Capsule product

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical's Lianhua Qingwen capsule.
Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical's Lianhua Qingwen capsule.

Related tags COVID-19 China TCM Thailand

Thailand and Laos are following China’s footstep in embracing a TCM formula in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

China recently added three TCM formula​, namely the Lianhua Qingwen Capsule, Jinhua Qinggan Granule, and Xuebijing Injection, as part of the country’s standard therapy for COVID-19 following positive clinical trial results.

Against the backdrop, more countries are starting to embrace TCM formula, with authorisation from Thailand’s and Ecuador’s health ministry and Laos adding TCM formula to their COVID-19 treatment scheme as examples.

Taking the limelight is the TCM formula Lianhua Qingwen Capsule produced by Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical.

In Laos, the formula has been added to the ‘Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Diagnosis and Treatment Scheme (Trial Version II)’.

In Thailand, the health ministry has approved the registration of Lianhua Qingwen capsules as a modern botanical drug. Its approved indications include 1) the treatment of influenza with symptoms of fever, muscular soreness etc, 2) detoxification of heat pathogens according to the TCM theory.

Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical said it had already received product orders from Thailand, starting from a small revenue base.

It will also grab hold of the overseas market opportunities for registering and selling the products, the firm’s brand centre vice supervisor Yang San Ping told NutraIngredients-Asia.

24-7 production

Since the start of the pandemic, the firm has seen huge growth in the demand for Lianhua Qingwen.

The company reported that its Q1 operating revenue had jumped 50.56% to reach RMB$2.33bn (US$329m) due to the booming sales of the Lianhua Qingwen product. Profit attributable to shareholders was RMB$437m (US$61.8m), an increase of 51.88%.

To meet soaring demand, the firm previously converted all its production lines for manufacturing the product around the clock since late January, Yang said.

This is equivalent to producing 53 million of the capsules (2 million boxes) and over 2 million bags of the product in the granule form each day.

The product was of stock in China at one point in time.

“After nearly 40 days of pumping up the production scale, the out-of-stock situation in the retail market is now alleviated,” ​Yang said.

The company is now resuming the production of its other patented items.

“Currently, we are able to meet the market demand with the inventory at the normal level. The company can also adjust the production plan at any point in time to meet the market demand.”

Strike while the iron is hot

It also has plans to increase its sales in overseas markets.

“At present, the Lianhua Qingwen product is already registered in six countries, Canada, Brazil, Indonesia, Mozambique, Romania, and Thailand, as well as Hong Kong special administration region of China, Macau and sold via local agents.

“There is an obvious increase in the number of orders for the product [in the overseas market], but overall, it has not formed a sizeable scale, and has yet to make a big impact on the company’s sales,” ​Yang said.  

Yang pointed out that ever since the pandemic took a turn for the worse, many Chinese-funded organisations overseas had bought the product. 

Lianhua Qingwen aside, the company’s other products, such as the Tongxinluo capsules for promoting blood circulation, Shensong Yangxin capsules for alleviating arrhythmia are already registered and sold in Korea, Vietnam, Russia, Canada, Singapore, and Indonesia etc.

On April 25, the firm announced that it has donated 100,000 boxes of Lianhua Qingwen to Italy and 120,000 boxes of the product to Iraq in early April, with a second donation of 8,000 boxes being arranged.

France is also preparing the clinical study on the use of Lianhua Qingwen for the treatment of COVID-2019, the firm said.  

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