The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday it authorized state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Pfizer Inc’s PFE.N COVID-19 pill, Paxlovid, to eligible patients.
Use of the pill, authorized to treat newly infected, at-risk people to prevent severe illness, has 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.
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The agency said patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 should bring their health records for the pharmacists to review for kidney and liver problems.
The agency said that pharmacists should refer the patients to a healthcare professional licensed to prescribe drugs if there is not sufficient information to assess kidney or liver function, or if modifications are needed due to a potential drug interaction.
The patients should also provide a list of medicines they are currently taking so their pharmacist can screen for drugs that can potentially react with Paxlovid, the FDA said.
(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)