Artemisia annua extract is a prescription-only medicine

From 18 May 2020, Artemisia annua extract is being classified as a prescription medicine in New Zealand, which means it will no longer be able to be sold in pharmacies or online.

Medsafe had previously issued two safety alerts associated with artemisia annua extract, including the product Arthrem (which contains artemisia annua extract), of a potential risk of harm to the liver.1,2 This change in classification is to address safety concerns with Artemisia annua extract. There are no approved products containing artemisia annua extract currently in New Zealand.

Note: During the current COVID-19 pandemic, there have been random claims of the benefit of Artemisia annua extract. There is no evidence to substantiate these claims.

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Artemisia annua extract to become prescription-only medicine Ministry of Health, NZ, 2020


  1. Warning of potential harm to liver associated with the natural medicine Arthrem Ministry of Health, NZ, 2020
  2. Renewed warning of liver harm Ministry of Health, NZ