The Thai Food and Drug Administration warns against purchasing unauthorized and possibly counterfeit antivirals

Last night, the Thai Food and Drug Administration said people should not look for unauthorized sources of COVID-19 treatments.

Surachuki Tanguywat said the warning came after it was discovered that a private hospital in Bangkok’s Khlong Luang district was selling COVID-19 treatment packages containing two unauthorized drugs: mulnopiravir and favipiravir.

Molnupiravir is a recently developed medication that can treat early COVID-19 infections and help prevent more severe symptoms. But the supply is limited and only available with a prescription, often for those in risk groups.

The US Food and Drug Administration has warned that anyone selling fake and potentially unsafe versions of the antiviral drug through social media or other channels faces prosecution for illegal and unauthorized drug smuggling.

The hospital did not have permission to supply the drugs because they are still strictly controlled by the government and can only be obtained with a prescription from certified doctors. The Ministry of Health has taken legal action against the hospital.

The Ministry of Public Health has confirmed that molnopiravir is stocked in sufficient quantities to treat patients with COVID-19, but said it is important to buy from the right sources, which are the hospitals designated by the government for the pills.

The FDA also notes that Molnopiravir should not be taken by pregnant women, and that fake versions may cause severe side effects.

While mask mandates have been lifted, Thailand has seen a spike in infections. As of Thursday, there were nearly 24,000 active cases with about 2,000 new daily case reports.

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