SINGAPORE: Chinese medicine Lianhua Qingwen is not approved for the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms, said the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) on Wednesday (Nov 17), adding that such claims are disallowed.
In an advisory, HSA said it is aware of claims circulating on social media and in Telegram chat groups that Lianhua Qingwen products can be used to prevent or treat COVID-19.
"Some Lianhua Qingwen products are listed as Chinese proprietary medicines in Singapore for the relief of cold and flu symptoms. HSA approved them based on the documented uses of the ingredients present in the products," said the authority.
"To date, there is no scientific evidence from randomised clinical trials to show that any herbal product, including Lianhua Qingwen products, can be used to prevent or treat COVID-19."
All herbal products for common cold and flu should only be used to manage symptoms such as headache, runny or blocked nose, sore throat and cough, said HSA.
"We strongly advise members of the public not to fall prey to unsubstantiated claims or spread unfounded rumours that herbal products can be used to prevent or treat COVID-19," it added.
Before any product that claims to treat COVID-19 can be supplied in Singapore, it must first be submitted to HSA for scientific evidence assessment and registration.
The scientific evidence should come from controlled clinical studies that show the product is safe and effective against COVID-19.
"Dealers and sellers are reminded not to make any false or misleading claims that the products they are selling can prevent, protect against or treat diseases such as COVID-19," said HSA.
Such an offence carries a punishment of up to two years in jail, a fine of up to S$5,000, or both.