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Home >> World
UPDATED: 13:38, February 24, 2007
Thailand to produce cheaper anti-flu pills in days
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Thailand will begin producing an effective anti-avian flu tablets later this month which costs half the normal price, newspaper The Nation reported Saturday.

The Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) will produce the first 200,000 tablets of Oseltamivir, a generic version of the Swiss-produced antiviral drug Tamiflu believed most effective against bird-flu, once the GPO obtains approval by the Food and Drug Administration to operate its new production line expectably later this month, GPO director Mongkhol Jiwasantikarn was quoted by The Nation as saying on Friday.

The version of GPO's production for Oseltamivir costs 70 baht ( 1.94 U.S.dollars) each tablet, half the original price of 140 baht (3.89 U.S dollars).

The GPO is capable of producing 400,000 Oseltamivir tablets a day to cope with increasing spread of avian flu and human influenza, and it has already ordered the purchase of ingredients used to produce a million tablets of the drug.

Mongkhol said a new drug-producing plant of the GPO in Thailand's central province of Saraburi will be finished in August. A budget for the 1.4 billion-baht (39 million dollars) plant has been supported by World Health Organization.

Thailand has been importing Oseltamivir ingredients from India and reformulating it in capsules. Thai health officials said the original Tamiflu producer, the Swiss company Roche, did not register patent protection for Tamiflu in Thailand, enabling Thailand to produce the generic version without breaking intellectual property laws.

Source: Xinhua

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