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Almost 1 million Favipiravir pills are taken daily in Thailand

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Thailand is going through 1 million Favipiravir pills per day as importing and domestic production are ramping up. (via National News Bureau of Thailand)

According to the Ministry of Public Health, Covid-19 patients in Thailand are taking almost a million Favipiravir pills each day as infection numbers surge around the country. The daily Covid-19 infection rates have now crossed over the 20,000 mark and with so many new cases, the demand for the antiviral tablets is skyrocketing.

The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation has been called upon by Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul to import much more of the Favipiravir pills after the Department of Medical Services announced that the drug should be used on all Covid-19 infected patients. They have planned to stockpile 420 million pills, but currently have just 15 million Favipiravir pills in stock.

The GPO expects to receive 120 million more pills over the next 2 months, and another 100 million in the fourth quarter of 2021. Favipiravir is in high demand because it is an anti-viral medication originally used in Japan to battle influenza symptoms. Now, some studies suggest the pill may be effective against the Covid-19 pandemic so Favipiravir is being implemented as a treatment option for those infected by Covid-19.

Local productions plans are also well underway, and the GPO estimates they can manufacture about 5 million pills a month. They will halt production on other medications that demand is currently low for and use the freed-up resources to focus on the more urgent need for Favipiravir pills.

A special committee has been established to focus on keeping a steady stream of Favipiravir pells flowing into Thailand, overseeing procurement, distribution, and manufacturing of the will in Thailand. The government says there is no indication of possible shortages on Favipiravir and so far believes that they will be able to keep a steady influx of the pill, allowing disbursements to provinces across the country to occur every 2 or 3 days.

212,000 people are currently being treated for Covid-19 in Thailand, with over 20,000 more being diagnosed each day for the last several days, so the need to have a steady supply of Favipiravir is rather urgent.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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