Govt buys 5.5m pills for virus care

Govt buys 5.5m pills for virus care

Local demand for Favipiravir surges

The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation has procured a total of 5.5 million tablets of the anti-viral drug Favipiravir to boost the country's supply amid rising demand for Covid-19 treatment.

GPO deputy director Sirikul Metheerangsan said the first batch of 3 million tablets was delivered to the GPO's warehouse yesterday in Samut Prakan and the remaining 2.5 million tablets will arrive on Monday for distribution to public health units nationwide.

Favipiravir, which has been shown to reduce mortality rates and prevent the onset of more serious symptoms, is being prescribed by doctors to Covid-19 patients in the early stages of lung inflammation. Demand for it has increased following the third wave of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Ms Sirikul said about 50,000 Favipiravir tablets are being prescribed to Covid-19 patients each day and the drug's use is being strictly supervised by the Public Health Ministry's Department of Medical Sciences.

The drug-use guidelines have been recently updated by the department, she said.

The GPO is currently developing its own Favipiravir to boost the country's stocks and reduce dependence on imports.

Meanwhile, 500,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from Sinovac donated by the Chinese government arrived yesterday, according to the Chinese embassy in Bangkok. The embassy also wrote on its Facebook that the vaccine would help Thailand curb its Covid-19 outbreak.

Thailand has imported 3.5 million Sinovac doses to date. In addition to the 500,000 doses donated by China, two million bought by the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation will be delivered later this month. Last week, the national communicable disease committee announced the approval of Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine for adults aged 60 and over amid concerns about its efficacy and safety.

The Public Health Ministry has assured that the vaccine is effective and safe and Sinovac is being offered to the elderly while the AstraZeneca vaccine is unavailable this month.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul earlier said Sinovac research has shown its vaccine is safe for members of that age group who are in good health and helps stimulate the body to build resistance against the virus.

Starting next month, AstraZeneca will be the main vaccine in the national inoculation campaign.

It will be given to people aged 60 and over.

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