Thailand buys 50,000 courses of Pfizer antiviral drug Paxlovid

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BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): The Department of Medical Services on Thursday (March 24) signed a contract to purchase 50,000 treatments of the drug Paxlovid with Pfizer Thailand for Covid-19 patients in at-risk groups.

The department’s general manager, Somsak Akkasilp, participated in the signing of the online contract with Deborah Seifert, country manager of Pfizer Thailand and Indochina.

Somsak said the purchase agreement was signed after his department had been in close contact with Pfizer since August last year and the department placed an order for the drug on January 19. The drug Paxlovid was approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration on January 28.

Somsak said his department first needed a nod from Cabinet before he could sign the contract on Thursday.

The drug is expected to arrive in Thailand in early April before being distributed to provincial hospitals across the country, Somsak said, adding that public health zone inspectors general will decide how to distribute the drug to hospitals in their zones, depending on their respective situation. .

The chief executive said clinical tests showed Paxlovid helped prevent 88% of patients from dying or being hospitalized after receiving the drug within five days of their first symptoms appearing.

Paxlovid consists of drug nirmatrelvir and nitonavir. A patient will receive four nirmatrelvir tablets and two nitonavir tablets daily for five consecutive days to complete a course.

Somsak said not everyone infected with the Covid-19 virus will receive Paxlovid. He explained that up to 70-80% of people can fight off the virus without having to take medication.

Studies have shown that 50% of people infected with the Omicron variant will show no symptoms and only 50% of those with symptoms need medication, he said.

Doctors would prescribe necessary medications to patients based on their medical records and vaccinations. For example, those who have been fully vaccinated and have no comorbidities will only receive Thai herb.

Somsak said the prescribing guidelines for Paxlovid will be similar to the administration guidelines for Molnupiravir, which the department purchased earlier.

“According to the guidelines for Molnupiravir announced on March 21, Paxlovid will be administered to the elderly, those with comorbidities and those who have not been vaccinated or who have received only one vaccine injection,” said said Somsak.

Seifert said Paxlovid has been approved in more than 50 countries around the world and 1.5 million courses have been distributed.

By July 30, the distribution will reach some 30 million cures, she added.

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