Many travelers may wonder why it is so difficult to find antimalarial tablet in Thailand. Some may visit many pharmacists, many hospitals but without success. Until finally they could find us after someone tell them to visit Hospital for Tropical Diseases to buy antimalarial tablets.
There are several issues that need to be discussed here;
1. First of all; our government and our FDA have strict rules and regulations to control the use and distribution of antimalarial in Thailand. Since we face with multi-drugs (chloroquine, mefloquine) resistant malaria and this problem will be much worse if we could not control the use of antimalarial tablets. So antimalarial medication will be available in some university/public hospitals only.
2. We do have many antimalarial medications including malarone, mefloquine and artesunate in our hospital. Our doctors could prescribe them for treatment and also for prevention of malaria in some cases. However they are not just simply for sale. We will consider in case by case basis. Not all travelers will need antimalarial tablets. Please refer to these articles for more information: Should I take antimalarial tablets in Thailand? and FAQ about malaria. Generally we may prescribe antimalarial tablets for someone who
- travel in high risk destination (such as Africa, Papua New Guinea, Oceania)
- travel in risk area where medical facility is not available or limited (SBET is another option)
- has some underlying conditions which might lead to severe, life threatening condition if really get malaria
- currently on antimalarial tablet but run out of it during trip
3. Please do not buy antimalarial tablets especially mefloquine, artesunate or malarone in pharmacists or in small clinic especially in the rural area or in border area or in Myanmar, Lao, Cambodia. Since counterfeit malaria pills are very common there. They are illegal and also very dangerous for travelers and public.
Antimalarial, like many medications, are very useful if we know how and when to use it.