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Thailand imports chemicals from China to commence local production of antivirals




“We need to make sure we have at least 1 million pills of Favipiravir in store.”

The Managing Director of Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organisation Dr. Withoon Danwiboon says, “we have made contact with China to buy ‘Favipiravir’ (an antiviral drug) to start the production of the drugs locally as one of the treatments of Covid-19 virus in the country.”

“We are awaiting for the antiviral delivery from China. They will arrive next week.”

Favipiravir, sold under the brand name ‘Avigan’, is an antiviral medication used to treat influenza in Japan. It is also being studied to treat a number of other viral infections including Covid-19.

“After that, we will run the controlled experiments of the antiviral substances and assess the stability, dissolution and absorption. If the ingredients pass the testing, they will be handed over to the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Medical Sciences to conduct standardised testing before the drug manufacturing can start.”

However, it is expected to take up to a year to begin the official start of the pharmaceutical production line. The procedures and timeline will be similar to issuing Compulsory Licensing on HIV drugs.

“It is vital that Thailand starts its own antiviral drug Favipiravir production line, despite taking up to a year to begin the actual production, it is all worth it because we expects that the Covid-19 outbreak will prevail, not to the scale of today’s but there will still be Covid-19 cases even through next year.”

In the meantime, the GPO is still in negotiation with several countries including China and Japan to purchase more Favipiravir to serve Covid-19 patients.

“We need to make sure we have at least 1 million pills of Favipiravir in store, Currently there are 200,000 pills in our stockpile.”

SOURCE: Khao Sod


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