DRA clarifies on the traditional medicine

Yangchen C Rinzin

Following a video that went viral since Saturday, where a drungtshog was filmed claiming that a traditional medicine could prevent coronavirus, the Bhutan Medical and Health Council has issued a public notification to refrain from sharing the information.

The notification, which was issued jointly with the Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA) stated that the traditional medicine known as Norbu Duen-Thang is indicated only to prevent and treat common flu and not COVID-19, as claimed in the video clip.

The notification also advised people to seek necessary clarification from relevant authorities.

Drungtshog Tandin Phub, who was filmed explaining about the medicine, claims at the beginning of the video clip that the medicine is effective in the prevention of coronavirus. He, however, said that there is no medicine to cure once a person is infected with the virus.

Explaining the ingredients of the medicine, the drungtshog instructs, in detail, how the medicine should be prepared and consumed. He is also seen informing that the medicine is distributed in dzongkhags and dungkhags.

The DRA has also issued a message through a social media on Saturday evening explaining that there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat COVID-19.

It also informed that some specific treatments are under investigation but are yet to be tested through clinical trials and that those infected are given appropriate medicine to relieve and symptoms are treated.

“We’re closely following the latest international developments of any vaccine or medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19,” it stated. “People should not fall prey to any medicines claiming the ability to prevent or treat COVID-19.”

The DRA has requested people to contact DRA to complain or seek clarifications on any unauthorised information on medicines.

Meanwhile, drungtshog Tandin Phub said that although he explained about the medicine, he never indicated it would prevent coronavirus.

“People resort to wearing talisman, prayers and rimdro in our traditional belief. It’s in this context that I said medicine could prevent COVID-19.”

Tandin Phub also said that he was explaining the benefits of the medicine to prevent flu to a patient and that the entire video clip was doctored and made it look like official

“I’m not aware who filmed the video but I was talking about flu since the symptoms are same,” he said over a telephone interview. 

He said that his sole intention of explaining about the medicine was with good intention to create awareness on the prevention of flu.