The US Will Expand The Distribution Of COVID Antiviral Pills

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  • Pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy program for distributing antiviral treatments will be able to order the free treatments directly from the U.S. government starting this week.
  • There are only a few proven antiviral treatments.
  • The administration also aims to boost patient and provider awareness through public education campaigns.

The White House announced on Tuesday that President Joe Biden’s administration plans to double the number of locations where COVID-19 oral antiviral medications like Pfizer Inc’s (PFE.N) Paxlovid are available as reported by Reuters.

Federal pharmacy program

Pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy program for distributing antiviral treatments will be able to order the free treatments directly from the U.S. government starting this week.

Currently, pharmacies depend on states to obtain the pills.

Under the current system, the treatments are available in around 20,000 locations.

The administration expects to boost its direct distribution to more than 30,000 locations soon and reach 40,000 sites over the coming weeks, the White House said.

“Treatments are really the next phase of this pandemic, where we have to make the treatments, these highly effective treatments, widely available,” Dr Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said in an interview on CNN.

Major tool 

Paxlovid was expected to be a major tool in the fight against COVID after it reduced hospitalizations or deaths in high-risk patients by around 90% in a clinical trial.

There are only a few proven antiviral treatments.

The others are Merck & Co’s (MRK.N) far less effective rival pill molnupiravir, and Gilead Sciences Inc’s (GILD.O) intravenous remdesivir.

Through the first half of April, U.S. data shows it has distributed around 1.5 million courses and that pharmacies still have over 500,000 available.

The administration also aims to boost patient and provider awareness through public education campaigns.

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Source: Reuters

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