The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) has developed two major anti-retroviral medicines which should ease the strain on the healthcare programme and improve the quality of life of HIV/Aids patients.
Public Health Minister Pradit Sinanarong said the local manufacturing of efavirenz and lopinavir/ritonavir will save on import costs and lower the cost to consumers.
The regimens are crucial for treating people living with HIV/Aids and Thailand has imported the generic versions of the medicines for the past six years.
Dr Pradit said the number of people with HIV/Aids receiving anti-retroviral drugs was 225,272 in October.
Of these, 148,357 are covered by the 30-baht health care scheme, 46,114 come under the Social Security Fund, 12,059 the health programme for civil servants while the rest, 18,742, are covered by other health programmes.
He said the local versions of the anti-retroviral drugs are part of the government's efforts to ensure that people living with HIV/Aids have access to the same drugs and treatment nationwide after the three health schemes were merged on Oct 1.
GPO director Withit Atthawetchakul said the organisation has started production of lopinavir/ritonavir, a fixed dose combination. It can produce 20,000 bottles, each containing 120 tablets, a month.
He said the regimen has been registered with the Food an Drug Administration (FDA).
The GPO is in the process of registering efavirenz with the FDA and production is expected to start in January next year, Dr Withit said. The GPO director said the GPO can manufacture 30,000-40,000 bottles of efavirenz, each containing 30 tablets, a month.
Dr Withit said the GPO has also developed and produced 300mg tenofovir, another anti-retroviral tablet, to be taken once a day in the morning. He said the new dose should reduce drug resistance in people with HIV/Aids.