MANILA – Traditional Chinese medicine should be explored as an effective treatment for persons infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Malacañang said on Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said health experts should not discount the possibility of the effectiveness of traditional Chinese medicine since they were being used by an illegal hospital and clinic being operated in Pampanga and Makati, respectively.
“Bagama’t ito’y paglabag sa batas natin at talagang hinuhuli ‘yan at pinapasara, ‘wag natin kalimutan na baka naman dahil may ginagamot silang mga Tsino, meron silang gumaganang mga produkto (Although this is a violation of the law and we shut down [illegal hospitals], let us not forget that because they were treating Chinese patients, they might also have effective products),” Roque said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
Should the traditional Chinese medicine be found effective, they must first be registered under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), he said.
“Tingnan natin kung gumagana ang traditional medicine na ito. Kung gumagana, irehistro din natin at subukan din natin panggamot sa mga pasyente. Pero hindi pupuwede na walang kahit na anong pagsusuri kung gumagana nga o hindi (Let us find out if this traditional medicine works. If it does, let us register it and try to use it to treat our patients. But it cannot be used without being examined),” Roque said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the FDA to act on drug applications, including traditional Chinese medicines, within 48 hours.
“Ang FDA, bago pa nagkaroon ng mga raids sa mga illegal clinics na ito, ay inutusuan po ng Presidente na pabilisin ang proseso ng registration lalo na po ng traditional medicine (The FDA, even before the raid on illegal clinics, was instructed by the President to hasten the process of registration),” Roque said.
He said the President made the order, recognizing that China, where the virus originated, has a wealth of experience when it comes to treating the deadly virus, compared to other countries.
“Nais din natin malaman kung talagang gumagana itong mga traditonal Chinese medicine na ito nang magamit din natin. Pero kinakailangan rehistrado pa rin sa FDA (We also want to find out if this Chinese medicine works so we can use it. But it has to be registered under the FDA),” Roque added.
He, however, reiterated that only licensed physicians are allowed to practice the medical profession and that only the use of FDA-approved medicines will be allowed in the country.
Traditional medicines, which are getting significant attention in global health debates, are naturally occurring, plant-derived substances with minimal or no industrial processing that have been used to treat illness within local or regional healing practices.
In China, traditional medicine played a prominent role in the strategy to contain and treat severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). (PNA)