The Food and Drug Administration said this week that it allows state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe the Pfizer antiviral drug Paxlovid.
Pharmacists had pleaded for the agency to grant them the ability to prescribe the drug. They said it would expand access to the antiviral, which is licensed for the treatment of “mild to moderate” COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients who have tested positive and are considered to be at high risk of developing. a serious illness.
“Removing barriers to pharmacists prescribing oral antivirals has the potential to be a game-changer to address health equity and provide rapid access to these lifesaving treatments in pockets of the country where pharmacists can be the only healthcare provider for miles,” Ilisa Bernstein, acting executive vice president and CEO of the American Pharmacists Association, said in a statement.
But the nation’s largest group of physicians, the American Medical Association, says patients will receive the best, most comprehensive care from physician-led teams.
Paxlovid, noted WADA President Dr. Jack Resnick, Jr., “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 if a patient is improving – requirements well beyond the scope and training of a pharmacist.
In related news, contraindications to Paxlovid have taken on greater prominence, especially outside the United States, where a rival COVID-19 antiviral from Merck is often prescribed more frequently despite its lower efficacy, according to a published report. in The Wall Street Journal.
Australia, Japan and Italy are among countries where Merck’s Lagevrio (molnupiravir) has been given to patients more than Pfizer’s drug, the document notes, with the trend reflecting physicians’ preference for low risk of for potential drug interactions rather than for efficacy. Early data showed Paxlovid is doing a better job than Lagevrio of keeping people out of hospital.
Analysts have adjusted their annual revenue forecasts accordingly. The forecast for Paxlovid has been cut to a still-high $24.8 billion, with sales of Lagevrio now expected to reach $5.4 billion this year, according to the Log.