Rural Thai doctors report shortage of Covid-19 medicine Favipiravir

After an annoyed Public Health Ministry secretary warned patients on Thursday that the medicine Favipiravir is “not a snack“, Thailand’s Rural Doctor Society now complains of a shortage of it. Favipiravir is an anti-viral drug given to Covid-19 patients, but the secretary said last week that there was a misunderstanding that every Covid-19 patient had to take it. He said this was because the government used to provide it a lot in the past.

Now, the RDS says several rural hospitals and community isolation centres have a shortage of Favipiravir following the spread of the Omicron variant. The society said the Public Health Ministry is responsible for dealing with the shortage. It also 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.

On Thursday, the Public Health Ministry secretary said Favipiravir will only be given to patients “if necessary” to patients with moderate symptoms or worse. It used to be given to more patients, including those who had mild or no symptoms. Authorities also warned it could have side effects, including hepatitis and change in eye colour in rare cases.

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SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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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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