On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that pharmacies in the US can now prescribe Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill directly to patients under a new U.S. policy.
Paxlovid- the leading COVID treatment pill can be prescribed to COVID-positive patients after pharmacists screen patients to see if they are eligible for the pills. Until now, this could only be done by physicians who were allowed to prescribe the antiviral drug.
The FDA change will make thousands more pharmacies eligible to quickly prescribe and dispense the pill, which must be used early to be effective. “Since Paxlovid must be taken within five days after symptoms begin, authorizing state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid could expand access to timely treatment,” FDA drug center director Patrizia Cavazzoni, said in a statement.
To avail of the tablets, patients are expected to bring their recent health records including blood tests and a list of their current medications so pharmacists can check for health conditions and medications that can negatively interact with Paxlovid.
Paxlovid is intended for people with COVID-19 who are more likely to become seriously ill. That includes older people and those with other health issues like heart disease, obesity, cancer or diabetes that make them more vulnerable. It isn’t recommended for patients with severe kidney or liver problems.
The course of treatment is three pills twice a day for five days.