China Drugmaker Plunges After Wanda Director Doubts Covid Treatment Efficacy

The stock price of traditional Chinese medicine-maker Yiling Pharmaceutical plunged after Wang Sicong, founder of Prometheus Capital and director of Wanda Group, reposted a video on April 14 on Weibo that questioned whether the World Health Organization had ever recommended the firm’s Lianhua Qingwen capsules as Covid-19 treatment.

Wang commented on the original post: “The China Securities Regulatory Commission should strictly investigate Yiling Pharmaceutical. It’s difficult to see a media outlet that is so rigorous daring to verify and tell the truth in China.” However, on Tuesday, Wang’s Weibo account was blocked and no more posts were available.

Yiling Pharmaceutical responded to Wang’s comment later in the day: “Please point out the specific problems and sources of the news and we will provide answers. From clinical trials to specific experimental data, to being included in Covid’s diagnosis and treatment plan, we have complete evidence and reports for the public.”

“We have never said on any occasion that the WHO had recommended the drug as Covid-19 treatment,” the drug maker added.

Yiling Pharmaceutical was established in 1992 and mainly engages in the research and development, production and sales of traditional Chinese medicine. In 2019, before the outbreak of the pandemic, its largest revenue source was cardiovascular and cerebrovascular medicine, accounting for 53.15% of the total revenue. After the outbreak in 2020, respiratory medicine represented by the Lianhua Qingwen capsules became the company’s largest revenue source. The drug’s revenue increased from 1.703 billion yuan ($266.6 million) in 2019 to 4.255 billion yuan in 2020, an increase of 149.89% year-on-year, accounting for 48.46% of the total revenue.

The capsules also promoted the performance growth of Yiling Pharmaceutical. In the first three quarters of 2021, the company’s revenue topped 8.11 billion yuan while its net profit reached 1.224 billion yuan.

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The stock price of Yiling Pharmaceutical has also fluctuated with the ebb and flow of the trending topic concerning the company. On April 15th, its shares hit limit down  and saw a 6.7 billion yuan of market value lost in one day. Only ten minutes after the market opened again on Tuesday did the company’s share price began to rise, with the highest increase rate of 4.2% to 33.75 yuan per share.