16 million Favipiravir tablets procured for COVID-19 patients in July

Image Credit: Government Pharmaceutical Organisation

To treat patients infected with COVID-19, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has procured an additional 16 million Favipiravir antiviral tablets, which are expected to arrive in Thailand this month.

Dr. Kornkrit Limsommut, director of the health administration division, said yesterday (Wednesday) that there are currently four million Favipiravir tablets and 1,613 vials of Remdesivir broad-spectrum antiviral intravenous medication on hand and the arrival of a new shipment will ensure that there is sufficient medication to meet current requirements.

He added that, if there is a need for more, the medications can be procured quickly because the ministry has direct contact with the drugs’ manufacturers.

Dr. Kornkrit revealed that the MoPH’s centre for the management of medicines and pharmaceutical products, which was recently formed to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, has also procured more PPE equipment for medics, including N95 face masks, coveralls and gowns, shoe covers, hoods, face shields, leg covers, surgical masks, nitrite and disposable gloves.

Dr. Vitoon Anankul, director of the emergency health division, said that 20-24% of hospital beds for “Green” patients (asymptomatic or mild symptoms) are currently unoccupied, as are 6% of beds for “Yellow” patients (those who develop short, rapid breathing, fatigue or suffer from one of the named underlying diseases).

In managing hospital beds, to ensure that those who need them the most can be admitted, he said that the quality of the facilities for the “Green” patients who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, need to be improved, so there will be more beds in hospitals for moderate and severe cases.

Meanwhile, it is reported that some pharmacies are experiencing a shortage of the Fah Talai Jone Thai traditional herbal medicine, recently approved by the MoPH for the treatment of mild symptoms associated with COVID-19 infection, such as headache, cough and sore throat.

Pharmacist Bovorn Angsuvanich told Thai PBS that buyers are stocking up the herbal medicine as a precaution, to the extent that his pharmacy is out of stock, adding that fingerroot (Boesenbergia rotunda), which is claimed to be effective in reducing COVID symptoms, is also in great demand and is getting scarce.

He said that the price of a bottle of Fah Talai Jone tablets has increased to 100 baht, from 90 baht last week, and it is “selling like hot cakes”.

Ms. Sopee Buapun, head of a community-based enterprise engaged in cultivating herbs in Ratchaburi province, said the price of dried Fah Talai Jone leaves has increased from 25,000 baht to 40,000 baht per tonne, due to the sudden high demand.


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