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GPO to sign purchase contract for 8.5 million ATKs on Monday

The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) will sign a contract with Ostland Capital Ltd to purchase 8.5 million antigen test kits (ATKs) on August 30, said GPO director-general Dr Witoon Danwiboon on Friday.

“The ATKs will be used by the National Health Security Office and Rajavithi Hospital,” he said. “Both organisations stipulate that the ATKs must be for home use and not professional use and must be approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration.

He added that no requirement has been set regarding approval by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The GPO’s purchase of 8.5 million ATKs made by Beijing-based Lepu Medical Technology sparked public controversy in recent weeks following news that the brand is banned in the United States due to a high risk of false results. This sparked doubts about the product's quality.

Ostland Capital won the contract with a bid of 70 baht per kit.

Last week, the Rural Doctors Society alerted the GPO that the deal might not comply with the prime minister’s order stipulating that ATKs purchased by the GPO must be approved by the WHO. Lepu’s ATK has not been approved by the WHO. Ostland Capital then stated that all ATKs currently approved by the WHO are for hospital and laboratory use and that not a single brand has received approval for home use.

“GPO would like to thank all parties for exchanging their opinions regarding the purchasing of ATKs, which has ultimately enabled us to buy the product at a reasonable price when prices in the overseas market are still high,” said Witoon. “The ATK will help speed up screening of Covid-19 patients in a wider scope and therefore ensure that infected patients receive proper treatment in time.”

Siriya Thepcharoen, president of World Medical Alliance Ltd, Ostland Capital’s ATK sales representative, said: “We want Thai people to use a quality product at an affordable price. Lepu’s ATK is of international standard and has been approved for use in many countries, including Germany and Australia. It also has been approved by the FDA to use in Thailand.”

Published : August 27, 2021