Thailand to Import Ingredients From China for Treating COVID-19

Health minister Anutin Charnvirakul receives a donation of face masks and other protective equipment from Chinese representatives on April 13, 2020.

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) said on Thursday that it has made contacts with China to buy antiviral ingredients to produce antiviral drug Favipiravir for the COVID-19 treatment in the country.

“We (GPO) are awaiting for the antiviral delivery from China. They will arrive next week,” said GPO Managing Director Dr. Withoon Danwiboon.

“After that, we will run the experiments of the antiviral substances and assess the stability, dissolution and absorption. If the ingredients pass the testing, then they 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 however, cautioned that it is expected to take up to a year to begin the official start of the pharmaceutical production line.

He said the procedures and timeline will be similar to issuing Compulsory Licensing (CL) on HIV drug.

Withoon said it is vital that Thailand starts its own antiviral drug Favipiravir production line; and despite taking up to a year to begin the actual production, Withoon said it is all worth it because he expects that the COVID-19 outbreak will prevail, not to the scale of today’s but there will still be COVID-19 cases even till next year.

In the meantime, the GPO is still in negotiation with several countries including China and Japan to purchase more Favipiravir to serve COVID-19 patients.

“We need to ensure at least 1 million pills of Favipiravir in store,” said Withoon. “Currently there are 200,000 pills in our stockpile.”

Thailand’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Thursday reported another low daily rate of the COVID-19 at 29, with three fatalities.