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Covid-19 plan recruits 2,000 pharmacies in Bangkok to assist

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: 2,000 Bangkok pharmacies have been enlisted to help patients in home isolation.

A new plan has recruited 2,000 pharmacies to aid in Bangkok’s home isolation programme in order to assist in Covid-19 diagnosis and treatment. The Pharmacy Council of Thailand brought in pharmacies across the city to provide service for people isolating at home due to Covid-19 infections.

The plan was put in place hinging on the purchase of 8.5 million antigen test kits the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation was arranging to purchase. Rather than allow at-risk people to spread infection by going to pharmacies to get the test kits and possibly bungle the testing process and get inaccurate test results and possibly false negatives, pharmacies would be tasked with receiving and then distributing the test kits to those in need. The kits would be given free of charge and pharmacies can give advice on how to take the test.

That part of the plan hit a snag as the GPO’s choice of antigen test kits, a 70 baht bargain by Chinese manufacturer Lepu Medical Technology, was maligned by Rural Doctors Society who complained that the brand had been pulled from American shelves after the US FDA warned of its ineffectiveness. The GPO delayed signing the contract saying the kits would be further tested.

Aside from aiding with test kits though, the plan would create a list of pharmacies and make their names and phone numbers available for patients in home isolation who may be at-risk or infected and asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. Those patients can then utilise pharmacies as their point of contact to get assistance and advice about treatments and medication as well as Covid-19 counselling.

Pharmacies have been asked to serve the residents of their communities, to minimize movements of at-risk people in hopes of reducing the spread of Covid-19. If a person has come in contact with someone infected with Covid-19, they will enter home isolation with pharmacists monitoring their health and advising on treatment. If home isolation isn’t an option, pharmacists will assist with finding a suitable available community isolation facility.

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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