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Coronavirus

Chinese medicine shortage hits Taiwan as omicron surges

Ingredient prices soar as residents rush to get hold of treatment

Liu An Tang, a Chinese herbal medicine shop in Taipei, has been struggling to keep up with demand for ingredients used in NRICM 101, a COVID treatment. (Photo by Lauly Li)

TAIPEI -- Liu An Tang, a 110-year-old Chinese herbal medicine shop, stands on Dihua Street, a vibrant lane in the historical district of Taipei that is also home to tea sellers, textile traders and hipster boutiques. The store is normally quiet on weekdays, but in recent weeks, the phone has been ringing almost constantly -- and the callers are all after the same thing.

"I've lost count of how many calls we get in a day," shop owner Yang Kai-yu told Nikkei Asia. "More than 90% of them are asking if we still have ingredients to help them make the COVID herbal medicine NRICM 101."

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