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Clarifications About NRICM101 from The National Research Institute of Chinese Medicine (NRICM)

1. Does NRICM101 have a trademark or patent? Which pharmaceutical companies currently are authorized to manufacture it? Can traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbal shops sell it?

The NRICM has obtained a trademark and a patent for NRICM101. “NRICM101” cannot be used by anyone without authorization. The 8 pharmaceutical companies meeting GMP requirements that have obtained NRICM authorization to manufacture using NRICM101’s trademark are Sun Ten「順天堂」、 Chuang Song Zong「莊松榮」、Chuan Feng Tang「勸奉堂」、Li Kang「立康」,Han Sheng「漢聖」、Tian-I「天一」、Sheng Chang「勝昌」and Huato「華陀」. Any medical institution, TCM pharmacy, pharmaceutical company, or online retailer that attempts to manufacture or sell NRICM101 without authorization from the NRICM will violate its trademark and patent.


2. Can Western or TCM physicians prescribe NRICM101?

Only TCM physicians can prescribe it. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare approved for a special drug export license for “NRICM101 Concentrated Herbal Medicine” to be used to manufacture NRICM101 in Taiwan on May 18, 2021. NRICM101 was categorized as a drug that must be prescribed by a TCM physician.


3. Is NRICM101’s herbal formula publicly available? Would the treatment be the same if TCM herbal pharmacies directly prepared the formula? Is the formula the same as the “Formula for Mild Symptoms” in the “Guidelines for the TCM Treatment of COVID-19 by Clinical Stage”?

NRICM101’s effective formula dosage ratio has not been publicly disclosed. Only authorized pharmaceutical companies know the exact dosage ratio, precise ingredients (i.e. the species of origin, specific part of the herbal species), fingerprint profile, and manufacturing process. The drugs manufactured by these authorized pharmaceutical manufacturers must be validated by the NRICM’s 4 bioactivity tests, HPLC fingerprint profile analysis, and quantitative analysis of marker components prior to sale to ensure the drug’s efficacy.

It is not recommended for individuals to directly purchase the herbs from a TCM pharmacy. TCM pharmacies do not know the exact dosage ratio and cannot validate the drug’s efficacy through the same authorized tests.

NRICM101’s formula is not the same as the “Formula for Mild Symptoms” from the “Guidelines for the TCM Treatment of COVID-19 by Clinical Stage”.


4. Can NRICM101 only be used for COVID-19?

Not necessarily. NRICM101 is approved for the indication of “exogenous epidemics”, which are current infectious disease epidemics. COVID-19 falls under this indication but is not the only such disease. As long as a TCM physician has evaluated a patient’s

symptoms and determined that the patient has an “exogenous epidemic”, NRICM101 can be prescribed, even if the patient hasn’t been directly diagnosed with COVID-19. However, given limited resources and the immediate need to treat COVID-19, it is recommended for physicians to prescribe NRICM101 with discretion after careful evaluation of patients.


5. Can NRICM101 be used as a preventative treatment?

Yes, in high-risk individuals. Due to COVID-19’s highly infectious nature, proactive prevention in high-risk individuals is recommended. NRICM101 can be prescribed both as a treatment for patients with COVID-19 (asymptomatic, mild, or severe) and as prevention for high-risk individuals from infection or to reduce symptoms if infected.

NRICM101 can be prescribed to patients diagnosed with COVID-19 – whether asymptomatic, mild, or severe. It can also be prescribed to prevent infection in high-risk individuals or to reduce symptoms after infection.


High-risk individuals include: people who had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient, elderly (over 65), patients with comorbidities, healthcare workers or other personnel who manage medical capacity, social welfare organization beneficiaries and caretakers, high-risk exposure workers (e.g. international air and sea travel crew members, international merchants, anti-epidemic vehicle drivers, airport customs workers, anti-epidemic lodging staff, and home quarantine staff members, police, military, etc), people who need to travel internationally due to special circumstances.

COVID-19 is an “exogenous epidemic” as classified by TCM, or what modern medicine considers an infectious disease epidemic. According to the TCM classic The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (Huangdi Neijing), the traditional method of evaluating each patient individually to tailor diagnosis and treatment to the individual’s symptoms is not recommended for a plague; it would be too inefficient to meet the speed and scale of infection. Instead, we must develop prescriptions for different stages of the disease in order to rapidly and widely prescribe treatment. When addressing a widespread pandemic, it is not recommended to adjust the prescription to an individual's body constitution and symptoms as it may limit or delay the effectiveness of the treatment.


6. Can NRICM101 be consumed as a daily antiviral herbal tea?

No, but you can get NRICM’s Antiviral Herbal Tea. NRICM101 is an active treatment that must be prescribed by a TCM physician and thus should not be used as a regular health-promoting herbal tea. NRICM101 should not be consumed by healthy individuals or those who are at low risk of COVID-19 infection. Its consumption may result in minor side effects, such as indigestion, diarrhea, and fatigue, in children with weaker body constitution, elderly, and those with sensitive digestive tracts.

You can get NRICM’s Antiviral Herbal Tea if you are looking for a daily health-promoting herbal tea. You can learn more by visiting our website.


7. What is the mechanism of action of NRICM101 in treating COVID-19?

NRICM101 aims to suppress the pathogenesis of COVID-19 infection through 3 targets:

  1. Blocking the binding of the viral SARS-COV-2 spike protein to the ACE2 receptor on the surface of host cell membranes and reducing the number of viruses infecting human cells
  2. Inhibiting the activity of 3CL proteases in cells and preventing viral replication
  3. Preventing fatal inflammatory responses by inhibiting the secretion of TNF-α and IL-6 cytokines and reducing the risk of cytokine storms
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