Thailand Meds and Clinics [advice about Thailand]
Sep 26, 2011
Im not a Doctor, but am replying to a request for any information in regard to Thailand HIV Treatment. [Dear readers, if you have recent experiences about care centers in Thailand, please share your thoughts from Dr. Young] This is the information I know and have experienced personally.
I have been HIV+ for about 2 years. I have lived and worked in Thailand for over 8 years. I am a Western guy. I have now retired and look after myself and enjoy life.
The Thai Government have from what I have experienced a very very good medical system for all Thai's and Expat's. There are multiple choices from Private & Public Hospitals, Depending on the cost and the speed that you require. I lived in a major city for 7 years and was tested in a Private Hostpital (which you pay for as an expat) All Thais have almost free medical (if not hospitalised) When I needed my CD4 and Viral loads tested I have to pay. If I pay at a private hospital or public these 2 tests cost the following:
Private = 8700 THB = $281.37 USD (CD4 and Viral loads tests) Public = 1500 THB = $48.51 USD (CD4 and Viral loads tests)
I have now gone medication, they are Generics. The Thai Governmental Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) make all the medications at their Government owned plant out side of Bangkok, from what i have read and learnt from my Med Documentation is that the Thai government do not care about Trade Marks or Copyright, they care about their people and their peoples health " In 2002, the Thai government introduced an AIDS combination therapy that costs only forty-six cents (U.S.) a tablet. In 2005 it announced that it could manufacture an anti-bird flu drug for 50% cheaper than the patented version" . " Thailand's decision to break patents was applauded by well-known antiintellectual property activist groups and some charitable foundations. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, known in English as Doctors Without Borders) led the way, saying: "Thailand is demonstrating that the lives of patients have to come before the patents of drug companies." The William J. Clinton Foundation also offered it's ringing endorsement for what it calls Thailand's "measured use" of compulsory licenses to ensure more affordable access to high-quality drugs " see url's at the bottom for reference: (however these websites and references are a little old and do conflict a little - one is USA based!)
I now live in one of the poorest (yet most beautiful) area's in Thailand. I go to a tiny hospital that supports some 300 differing villages, There is a HIV clinic part of this hospital with only 1 HIV Doctor that only works with STD's and HIV issues. Their system here is well, simple, easy, yet some times can be a little frustrating due to a small amount of lack of communication and organisation. I can get all Meds, CD4, Viral Load tests here, yet the wait time can be challenging, some times can take a whole day.
I went on Meds from this Doctor in Thailand and originally went on an older regime, ( AZT, Zerit, Vired ) for one month, and when I visited my Western HIV clinic and had a check up, my Western Doctor suggested and wrote a letter to change my Meds as he was worried that I may suffer long term from facial wasting. He sated that Thailand and India are leading the way in Generic Copy medication and there all should be no problems.
My monthly vist to the HIV clinic here with meds of ( Vired "Tenofovir" 30 tabs | Viramune "Nevirapine" 60 Tabs | Lamivudine "3TC" 60 Tabs ) and a check up costs exactly 1031THB = $33.31 USD (EACH MONTH)
My Doctor in Thailand had no issue in changing my regime to what my Western Doctor requested, I am Her only Western Patient. The list of Medication Tablets in Thailand is as wide and as large as what I have seen in the West. In the Clinic that I go to theirs is a Huge Chart of Tablets that are available.
I do find that the language barrier is a challenge, yet my partner helps me with that, however this site gives me an enormous amount of information and resources, I think sometimes I know a little more the Her on some things (it is not standard in Thailand Public to do Viral Load Tests) so I always have to request and Pay, which I have no issue with.
In my Western country HIV medication is free yet there is a Pharmacy dispensing fee of $32.00 USD for each 30 Tabs so I would be paying $150 USD a month plus a doctors fee, yet Meds would not be generic. I keep in touch with my Western Doctor by email, and try and go back each year to check up with them, I get a years supply of Multivitamins (500 Tabs) made here in Thailand for less that 230 THB = $7.31 USD
I hope this helps.
Response from Dr. Young
Thank you so much for your detailed account of your experiences in Thailand. Yours might be the most detailed I've ever read from the perspective a Western ex-pat living in the country.
Be well, BY
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