The Food and Drugs Administration is urging the general public not to self-prescribe the Favipiravir antiviral drug, as that which is available over the counter or online is likely to be fake, while improper use could lead to drug resistance.
Thailand’s Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has addressed reports of unauthorized sale of products claimed to be Favipiravir online or at pharmacies, warning members of the public not to purchase such items for self-prescription.
Dr Surachoke Tangwiwat, Deputy Secretary General of the FDA, said that over the counter or online Favipiravir products could be counterfeit items containing no active ingredients, or from a defective manufacturing batch not passing quality control.
He said the use of Favipiravir from unauthorized channels could result in the patient loosing their chance of receiving effective medicine for COVID-19 treatment, or could unknowingly be harmed by contaminants.
The drug sold online may also not come with adequate dosage recommendations, resulting in drug resistance to the pathogen due to inadequate use.
Favipiravir is an antiviral drug approved for COVID-19 treatment in Thailand. The drug is classified as a special controlled drug that must only be prescribed by a physician, with side effects and treatment progress documented by some groups of patients, including pregnant women.
Currently, everyone who has tested positive to COVID-19 will receive check-up calls from doctors to monitor their symptoms. The patients, including those isolating at home, will have access to Favipiravir free of charge, subject to the doctor’s evaluation.
The FDA is now urging the public to report any suspicious sales of Favipiravir by calling the 1556 hotline, or by sending an email to [email protected] (NNT)