The Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) is warning people not to self prescribed the anti-viral drug Favipiravir.
The GPO says that doses of Favipiravir which are available over the counter in pharmacies or for sale online is unregulated and could even be counterfeit.
Favipiravir is currently available only at hospitals and clinics, as prescribed by doctors and cannot be bought over the counter.
When prescribing the drug, doctors take into consideration a person’s condition, level of sickness, their age and weight, in order to ensure the correct dosage.
People self-prescribing the drug could give themselves the incorrect dosage, which could lead to overdosing on the drug or building up a resistance to it.
Favipiravir is an antiviral drug approved for COVID-19 treatment in Thailand.
The drug is classified as a special controlled drug that must only be prescribed by a physician, with side effects and treatment progress documented by some groups of patients, including pregnant women.
Currently, everyone who has tested positive to COVID-19 will receive check-up calls from doctors to monitor their symptoms. The patients, including those isolating at home, will have access to Favipiravir free of charge, subject to the doctor’s evaluation.
At present, the Ministry of Public Health has sufficient supply of Favipiravir for both domestic use and export.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said recently that the ministry has assigned the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) to import more Favipiravir tablets, to accommodate the surge in demand.
Thailand currently has 15 million tablets of the drug in stock. 120 million tablets are to be delivered in August and September, while 100 million more tablets are scheduled to arrive between October and December, he said.
The GPO will locally produce 5 million tablets each month and will temporarily halt the production of other drugs which are not necessary at this time, to increase the production of Favipiravir to 30 million tablets per month.
Currently, nearly one million tablets of the Favipiravir antiviral drug are being consumed per day by COVID-19 patients in Thailand