Despite shortage, Chiang Mai Covid-19 patients can now get drive-thru Favipiravir

Just days after health officials admitted there is a shortage of Favipiravir pills in Thailand, Chiang Mai’s mayor has announced that mild and asymptomatic Covid-19 patients can get the pills for free in drive-thru services. The services are available at Chiang Mai Municipal Hospital.

This news comes less than a week after Thailand’s Public Health Ministry secretary said from now on Favipiravir will only be given to patients with moderate or worse symptoms. The secretary had complained that patients should understand the drug is “not a snack”.

Favipiravir, sold under the brand name Avigan among others, is an antiviral medication used to treat influenza in Japan. It is also being studied to treat a number of other viral infections, including SARS-CoV-2. Like the experimental antiviral drugs T-1105 and T-1106, it is a pyrazinecarboxamide derivative – Wikipedia

The Rural Doctors Society also complained about the shortage of Favipiravir in hospitals and community isolation centres. The RDS said doctors should make an effort to tell patients, especially older ones, that hospitals are running low on the drug. The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation said there is enough Favipiravir for public demand, and 60 million tablets are in production. It said 24 million are in stock.

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At the drive-thru service at Chiang Mai Municipality Hospital, medical staff will ask patients questions before prescribing them with 50 Favipiravir anti-viral pills. There are no walk-in services, and appointments must be made by calling the hospital directly. Relatives of Covid-19 patients can pick up Favipiravir prescriptions on their behalf by bringing their prescription numbers.

Chiang Mai’s mayor hopes this will make treatment more accessible, and reduce Covid-19.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Chiang Mai NewsCovid-19 NewsThailand News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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