FRIDAY, May 27, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Getting a hold of the COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid could get easier, the White House announced on Thursday.
“We want to make Paxlovid as widely available across the entire country, so that if you do end up getting a breakthrough infection, you’re still protected against serious illness,” said Ashish Jha, M.D., the White House COVID-19 coordinator.
The first test-to-treat site backed by the federal government is opening in Rhode Island, and more are scheduled to open in the coming weeks in Massachusetts and New York City, according to the Associated Press. Those sites will provide patients who test positive with immediate access to the drug. The United States is also sending authorized federal prescribers to several Minnesota-run testing sites next week, so that they, too, can test-to-treat.
Meanwhile, federal regulators have sent more clear guidance to physicians, so that they can more effectively determine how to manage Paxlovid interactions with other drugs a patient may already be taking.
About 25,000 to 30,000 courses of Paxlovid are being prescribed each day in the United States, a fourfold increase during the past six weeks. After key changes were made in how Paxlovid is distributed to states, the number of pharmacies doubled during May to 40,000, the AP said.
Though the United States has ordered 20 million courses of Paxlovid from drugmaker Pfizer, the country may run out this winter if there is a surge and the drug is widely used, the AP noted. The White House has been asking Congress for additional funds for months to purchase more Paxlovid, as well as other treatments and boosters.
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