Saturday, June 19, 2021

in-focus

GPO to start making Favipiravir after Japanese pharma’s patent request rejected


The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) will go ahead with its plan to produce at least a million tablets of the antiviral drug Favipiravir.

This move came after the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) on Wednesday rejected the Japanese pharmaceutical company’s request for a patent on the drug as there have been no improvements in the production under the 1979 Patent Act.

Thailand has had to import Favipiravir from Japan at THB117 to THB120 per tablet, but this will go down to THB30 to THB40 per tablet if the medicine is produced locally.

Dr Witoon Danwiboon, GPO’s managing director, said on Thursday that the organisation had started studying the efficacy of locally produced Favipiravir on local volunteers in April and expects to register the drug with the Thai Food and Drug Administration by July.

“GPO will start producing Favipiravir after getting approval from FDA,” he said, adding that GPO has ordered raw materials from China and India.

 

For the long term, he said, GPO is cooperating with the National Science and Technology Development Agency and PTT to research and develop the production of materials required to make Favipiravir and other drugs.

Separately, several networks working on helping people to access medical treatment submitted a letter to GPO, urging it to go ahead with its plan to produce Favipiravir without worrying about the chemical patent.

Nimit Tienudom, director of Aids Access Foundation, said that more than a million tablets of Favipiravir will be required to treat Thailand’s more than 20,000 Covid-19 patients.

“We applaud DIP for rejecting the Japanese pharma’s request and urge it to go ahead with its plan to produce Favipiravir to deal with the rising number of Covid-19 patients,” he said.

Published : May 07, 2021

By : The Nation