The Chinese government has released a list of coronavirus treatments, one of which contains bear bile.

On March 4 China’s National Health Commission, the government arm responsible for its health policy, published a list of COVID-19 treatments . The World Health Organisation has clarified that there is currently no cure for the virus, however, certain treatments can ease symptoms.



The list published includes two highly controversial treatments that have animal advocates up in arms.

According to National Geographic, one medicine that the Chinese government advise for treatment of severe cases of coronavirus is Tan Re Qing, ‘an injection containing bear bile.’

According to Animals Asia, a nonprofit dedicated to ending bear bile farming:

‘At bear bile farms in China and across Southeast Asia, the animals may be kept for decades in small cages. Bile is routinely extracted by inserting a catheter, syringe, or pipe into the gallbladder. All methods for extracting bile are invasive and ’cause severe suffering, pain, and infection,’



The other traditional medicine which has raised concern is a pill called Angong Niuhuang Wan. It is used to treat fever and a number of diseases and although Chinese law dictates that the pill should contain buffalo horn to substitute rhino horn (which is banned from global trade) some traders continue to use rhino horn.

The National Health Commission’s list was published less than a month after the country took action to ban the trade and consumption of live wild animals.

Cover image: Animals Asia