MOH Says Goh Meng Seng’s Claims On Lianhua Qingwen Study Are Incorrect

As Covid-19 community cases remain high, those who’re worried about infection may be searching for ways to treat themselves at home.

Some people may have turned to a certain traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) product, but the Ministry of Health (MOH) said it hasn’t been approved to treat Covid-19.

Despite that, it was alleged that MOH had sponsored a study on this product. MOH has now said this is incorrect.

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Opposition party chief Goh Meng Seng, who made this allegation, also said it was all a misunderstanding.

TCM product not approved to treat Covid-19

On Wednesday (17 Nov), MOH posted on Facebook in response to social media claims about Lianhua Qingwen (连花清瘟).

The claims reportedly said the TCM product could treat or prevent Covid-19.

TCM Product Only Approved For Cough & Flu Relief, Not To Treat Covid-19: HSA

MOH debunked them, saying the product only relieves cold and flu symptoms, but is not approved to treat or alleviate symptoms of Covid-19.

Goh Meng Seng claims MOH sponsored study

The next day, Mr Goh responded to this by making a claim of his own.

In a Facebook post, the chief of the People’s Power Party (PPP) said MOH sponsored a study on Lianhua Qingwen from Jul 2020 to Feb 2021.

It aimed to research how effective the product was in treating mild Covid-19 infections, he also alleged.

Study didn’t go ahead: MOH

In a Facebook post on Sunday (21 Nov), MOH referred to the so-called “study”, saying it didn’t go ahead.

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Actually, MOH had only offered to sponsor the study in question under a TCM research grant.

However, it didn’t take place because the principal investigator withdrew her application.

The reason was that she couldn’t secure a suitable study site.

No evidence that Lianhua Qingwen can treat Covid-19

MOH also reiterated what they said earlier, that there’s no scientific evidence that Lianhua Qingwen can treat Covid-19 in Singapore.

This is because only a few randomised control clinical trials have been conducted on the product, and they’ve taken place only in China.

In these trials, the sample sizes of patients weren’t large enough, MOH added.

In a strongly worded paragraph, MOH also slammed Mr Goh for making “a serious, baseless accusation”.

That’s because, in his Facebook post on 18 Nov, he accused MOH of “basically lying”.

The ministry reserves the right to “take further action”, they said, if Mr Goh continues to make this “unjustified claim”.

Goh says it’s a misunderstanding

In a lengthy Facebook post on Sunday (21 Nov), Mr Goh appeared to backtrack on his claims, saying it was all a misunderstanding.

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However, he said this was caused by “poor use of wordings” in MOH’s initial statement.

The opposition politician added that the public wouldn’t know that the study was cancelled, and public records should’ve been updated.

He finally concluded that MOH didn’t lie, but “could be more careful” with their usage of words.

Don’t make quick judgements

What Singaporeans should take away from this incident is that Lianhua Qingwen isn’t approved for Covid-19 treatment.

So if you get infected, don’t rely on the product to cure you.

We should also learn not to make quick judgements before finding out all the facts first – after all, there’s probably much we don’t know.

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Featured images by MS News and Goh Meng Seng on Facebook.