11 July 2024

The Rural Doctor Society (RDS) is complaining of a serious shortage of anti-viral Favipiravir medicine, to the extent that several hospitals have restricted its distribution to COVID-19 patients, except to those who are over 80.

In its Facebook post yesterday (Saturday), the RDS said that, since last September, Favipiravir had been readily available, because the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) increased production and infections by the Delta variant were reducing steadily. This had prompted the Ministry of Public Health to order state hospitals to prescribe the anti-viral medicine to all who become infected, no matter whether they were asymptomatic or had only mild symptoms.

With the steady but rapid spread of Omicron variant infections since last November, the RDS said that several rural hospitals and community isolation facilities are now experiencing serious shortages of Favipiravir.

Moreover, it said that health officials need to take pains to explain to patients, especially the elderly, that hospitals are running short of the drug and the responsibility for resolving the problem rests with the Public Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, GPO Deputy Managing Director Sirikul Matevelungsun has assured the public that there is sufficient Favipiravir to meet domestic demand, noting that there are now 24 million tablets in stock, plus an additional 60 million tablets in production.