The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) said it has authorised state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Pfizer Inc’s Covid-19 pill. The pill will be prescribed to eligible patients to help improve access to the treatment. The antiviral drug, Paxlovid, has now been given a nod for use. Paxlovid has been available for free in the United States since December, but fewer than half of the nearly four million courses distributed by the government to the pharmacies have so far been administered.
The use of the pill, which is now authorised to treat newly infected, at-risk people to prevent severe illness, has however jumped in recent weeks as infections rise.
“Since Paxlovid must be taken within five days after symptoms begin, authorizing state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid could expand access to timely treatment for some patients,” Patrizia Cavazzoni, director for the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.
The American Medical Association (AMA) said in a statement that prescribing decisions should be made by a doctor whenever possible. “It (Paxlovid) is not for everyone and prescribing it requires knowledge of a patient’s medical history, as well as clinical monitoring for side effects and follow-up care to determine whether a patient is improving,” said AMA President Jack Resneck.
Patients who want to determine their eligibility for receiving the drug at places where state-licensed pharmacists are available, should bring the following information:
Electronic or printed health records less than 12 months old
A list of all medications that the patient is taking currently
(With inputs from Reuters)