Mentseekhang asked to stop selling “coronavirus prevention pills”

Tibetan pill Chulen Rilbu.

Tibetan pill Chulen Rilbu. Photo courtesy of

HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times

DHARAMSHALA, India, 21 February 2020

On directions from the state health authorities, the sale of a traditional Tibetan medicine that supposedly prevents the spread of infectious diseases, including coronavirus, has been stopped.

Men-Tsee-Khang, the Tibetan Medical And Astro Institute in this Himachal Pradesh town, was directed by the government to stop the sale of Rimsung Rilbu so as to prevent any misconception in the public mind, Kangra chief medical officer Dr GD Gupta said on Friday.

The authorities issued the directions citing reports of public disturbance and commotion created by public demand for the pill.

The CMO visited Men-Tsee-Khang’s McLoed Ganj branch on 16 February and issued verbal directions to stop the sale of the pill. He apprised the Tibetan institute that non-compliance may result in fines up to Rupees 10 lakh (14,000 USD) and even closure of clinics.

Men-Tsee-Khang director Tashi Tsering Phuri issued a public notice notifying that the pill will not be sold at the Tibetan clinics in Kangra district. He told the media that they had complied with the directive of the authorities. He maintained that the institute had never made any claim regarding the pill having properties to prevent contagious diseases.

“The pill having prophylactic properties is prepared as per formulations given in the ancient Buddhist texts and has been around for centuries,” he said. The medicine is not for oral consumption but is administered through smell.

Men-Tsee-Khang is a charitable cultural and educational institution, established in 1916 in Tibet, and re-established in Dharamshala in 1961 by the Dalai Lama. The institute aims to preserve, promote and practise Sowa Rigpa, the ancient Tibetan system of medicine, astronomy and astrology.

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