Dr Korakrit Limsommut listed three groups of medications to treat people with varying degrees of Covid-19 symptoms, reports Bangkok Post.
He said Covid-19 sufferers with few or no symptoms will get general drugs; those with moderate symptoms with no underlying conditions will get green chiretta (locally know as fah talai john); and vulnerable groups will get antiviral drugs (such as favipiravir, remdesivir, molnupiravir, paxlovid etc).
As of Mar 25, provinces across the country had received 10 million favipiravir pills, while 3 million were distributed in Bangkok, Dr Korakrit said, adding that authorities are moving to ease fears of favipiravir shortages.
Dr Manus Potaporn, deputy director-general of Department of Medical Services within the MoPS, earlier said that people should not have doubts in favipiravir as the drug’s efficacy and safety have been verified in many countries around the world. He didn’t say anything about the efficancy of fah talai john.
At the same time Dr Manus mentioned that in Thailand 52% of all COVID-19-infected patients displaying some symptoms are not in fact given any antiviral drugs. They instead receive treatments for relieving symptoms, while 26% of patients are given favipiravir and another 24% the herbal medication green chiretta.
Yet in early March Mission Hospital Phuket warned people against self-treatment with Favipiravir citing safety reasons. The warning was shared by the Phuket Info Center, operated by the Phuket office of the Ministry of Interior.
“For safety, you should not buy Favipiravir off-the-shelf (including online) because it is a dangerous drug. Also there is a risk of buying low-quality drug which may cause death”, the notice warned.
It was stressed that Favipiravir “is not given to all infected people”, but only to those in the high risk group.
Green chiretta (fah talai john) was approved in Thailand for treatment of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients in mid-2021, after the Corrections Department reported success giving it to infected prison inmates.
The department gave green chiretta to about 11,800 infected inmates – and 99.02% of them recovered.
The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation recommends that asymptomatic patients take 180mg of this freely available herbal product, divided into three 60mg doses, per day at mealtimes.