12 July 2024

The Thai Justice ministry has modified a tablet press, confiscated from an illicit drug manufacturing network, to produce Fah Talai Jone (Green Chiretta) tablets, in an effort to alleviate the country’s COVID-19 medicine shortage.

The ministry will be able to produce 20,000 x 500mg tablets of Fah Talai Jone per hour, according to the ministry.

A tablet contains 300mg of Fah Talai Jone powder, 150mg of Microcrystalline Cellulose, 47.5mg of Talcum and 2.5mg of Magnesium Stearate.

The ministry said the private sector has supplied 600 kilograms of Fah Talai Jone, which will enable them to produce 1.5 million tablets in the first batch.

In June this year, the Public Health ministry approved the use of Fah Talai Jone, a Thai traditional herbal medicine, in the treatment of mild symptoms of COVID-19 infection. The herb contains Andrographolide which, the ministry claims, helps to fight viral infections

The Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine also claims that clinical trials of the drug show it is efficacious in people infected with the virus.

The department’s efforts to have the herbal medicine formally recognised has, however, met with stiff resistance from what it calls “western-trained” physicians, who state that there is no scientific proof of the benefit Fah Talai Jone in the fight against COVID-19.