KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 — Prices for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) used to treat Covid-19 are expected to go up after the Lunar New Year, according to practitioners.

According to The Malaysian Insight today, TCM practitioners said the increase is due to the weaker ringgit and a higher demand for herb-based items imported from China.

“I believe many people there are treating Covid-19 like it is the common flu,” Federation of Chinese Physicians and Acupuncturists Associations Malaysia president Dr Ng Po Kok was quoted as saying.

Ng added that in China, people were using TCM to supplement their prescribed Western medicine remedy.

He said it was not a lack of supply that was driving up prices, but a surge in coronavirus infections in China that has fuelled demand for the herbs.

Prices of TCM already increased in September, he said.

After China lifted its strict year-three “zero-Covid” policy on January 8, the subsequent spike in infections led to a rush for medication in the country.

Federation of Chinese Physicians and Medicine Dealers Associations Malaysia president Boon Yip Heng said Chinese pharmaceutical companies have ramped up production to meet the demand for Covid-19 treatments.

He said prices are now stable and not expected to rise.

Meanwhile, Chinese Drug Dealers Association Federal Territory and Selangor president Loh Kim Fong said there is a shortage of medicines for lung infections and coronary diseases.

“However, as far as I know, the Chinese pharmaceutical companies have raised production to solve the problem,” he said.

In Malaysia, some pharmacies are reportedly facing shortages and issues with some TCM products.

Asia One reported last month that TCM like Lianhua Qingwen has been increasingly difficult to purchase in pharmacies and online.