GPO ramps up domestic antiviral production following shortage concerns

The Government Pharmaceutical Organization is expected to produce Favipiravir antiviral medication for COVID-19 treatment of more than 40 million tablets per month from October onwards, following concerns raised by hospitals on potential shortages.

The Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) has revealed its expected production yield of locally produced Favipiravir is 2.5 million tablets in August, 23 million tablets in September, and at least 40 million tablets per month from October onwards.

Favipiravir is an antiviral drug being used for COVID-19 treatment in Thailand. The GPO has authorization to produce the drug locally under the trade name Favir by the Food and Drugs Administration.

The surge of COVID-19 cases in Thailand has raised concerns over a shortage of this antiviral drug, as local production of it is at an early stage.

Thammasat Field Hospital on Sunday posted on its Facebook page a caution, saying there might be a shortage of the drug in coming weeks, given the current supply.

The post, with reference to a statement from the Pharmacy Council, says local production capacity of 2-3 million tablets per month will not be sufficient to meet the demand for 1 million tablets a day, if the daily case numbers remain around 20,000, as each patient on average takes 50 tablets of the drug over the course of their treatment.

The hospital urges the GPO to increase the production capacity by contracting capable private manufacturers to help produce more of this drug.

The GPO Managing Director Dr Withoon Danwiboon, said today the GPO has put in place a manufacturing capacity increase plan, with a fifth production line for Favir to be opened at the GPO’s plant in Khlong 10, Pathumthani next month.

All five production lines for Favir will be at the GPO’s plant on Rama VI road in Bangkok, and at Klong 10 plant in Pathumthani. The GPO aims to achieve a manufacturing capacity of 2 billion Favir tablets annually, or at least 160 million tablets monthly, with room for expansion.

The GPO is also expected to receive the Thai FDA’s authorization for Favir packaging in medicine bottle this month, which is the GPO’s intended way of supplying the drug in addition to the initial 2.5 million tablets packaged in blister packs.

While local production is growing, Favipiravir tablets will continue to be imported from abroad. Thailand is expected to receive 43.1 million Favipiravir tablets this month, on top of the 13 million already imported.

Favipiravir is an antiviral drug intended for influenza treatment. The drug has been approved as the main medication for COVID-19 treatment in Thailand, as an effective coronavirus-specific cure is not yet available.

 

Information and Source

Reporter : Tanakorn Sangiam

Rewriter : Tarin Angskul

National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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