11 July 2024

A patent application for Japanese-made anti-viral drug Favipiravir has been rejected by Thailand’s Intellectual Property Department over its manufacturing quality.

The department’s director-general, Mr. Vuttikrai Leewiraphan, said yesterday (Wednesday) that the applicant for the patent failed to meet the legal requirements for registration.

Hence there is no private or legal entity in Thailand which has the monopolistic right to manufacture the drug here, paving the way for the Government Pharmaceutical Organization and private Thai pharmaceutical firms to produce the drug for domestic consumption.

Mr. Vuttikrai said, however, that the applicant has the right to appeal the department’s ruling within 60 days, adding that, if there is no appeal within the period, the decision will be considered to be final.

Refuting the claim that Thailand cannot produce the patented drug under the compulsory license system (CL) due to a legal technicality, Mr. Vuttikrai said that the Ministry of Public Health or relevant agencies can license the production of the drug for domestic use.

CL is a process by which a government licenses an individual or company to produce a patented product or process without the consent of the patent owner in an emergency and for non-commercial use.

Currently, Thailand has about 1.5 million Favipiravir tablets in stock, for use with COVID-19 patients, and an additional 3 million tablets are expected this month.

The drug will only be administered in severe and certain mild cases with a high viral load andwho are at risk of developing severe symptoms.