Thailand will manufacture antiviral drug ‘Favipiravir’ for Covid-19 treatment

Dr. Withoon Danwiboon, MD of Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO).
Dr. Withoon Danwiboon, MD of Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO).

BANGKOK – The Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) goes ahead with the plan to produce antiviral drug Favipiravir for Covid-19 treatment.

GPO Managing Director Dr. Withoon Danwiboon said the GPO made a contract to import raw materials for manufacturing Favipiravir from China.

It is waiting for the delivery, expected to arrive by next week and will run the testing of the substances for stability, dissolution and absorption. If it passes the test, it will be handed over to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Medical Sciences to conduct standardized testing before the drug manufacturing could start.

Withoon said it is expected to take up to a year to start operation of the pharmaceutical production line, similar to issuing Compulsory Licensing (CL) on HIV drug.

But it would not be too late, he said because the Covid-19 outbreak could prolong for a while.

In the meantime, the GPO is negotiating to purchase more Favipiravir from other countries to ensure adequate supplies of at least one million pills for patients in the country. Currently, there are about 200,000 pills in stockpile. (TNA)