Doctor’s prescription still needed to get Covid antiviral drugs
A doctor’s prescription is still required to get Covid-19 antiviral drugs after the Public Health Ministry allows public and private hospitals nationwide to procure the drugs themselves from September 1.
The move, which aims to make Covid-19 treatment and medicine more easily and widely available, will include four antiviral drugs approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), namely Favipiravir, Remdesivir, Molnupiravir and Paxlovid.
“From September 1, people will still not be allowed to buy Covid-19 antiviral drugs themselves,” said Public Health deputy permanent secretary Dr Thongchai Kirattihatthayakorn on Tuesday.
“Covid-19 patients must be diagnosed by a doctor, who will prescribe suitable drugs based on medical indications, patient’s symptoms and other risk factors to avoid side effects,” he made it clear.
Medical Services Department director-general Dr Somsak Akkasilp said antiviral drugs are approved by the FDA for use in emergency situations, and long-term side effects have yet to be thoroughly studied.
“People should therefore be careful and use these drugs only under doctor’s orders, especially among ‘rebound’ patients who had recovered from Covid-19 and then got reinfected despite having taken antiviral drugs,” he added.
Earlier this week, the National Health Security Office said it would start distributing Molnupiravir to people in vulnerable groups via telemedicine app operator Clicknic Health.
Clicknic CEO Neil Nilwichian insisted that patients would be diagnosed by 40 to 50 doctors via the app to prevent the antiviral drug from being misused or wrongly prescribed.