Paxlovid: How much it costs and where to get it
The antiviral pills require a prescription
President Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday morning, and the White House said he is taking the Pfizer pill Paxlovid to treat the virus.
The oral antiviral pill was granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December for adults and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older who weigh at least 88 pounds and who are at high risk for severe COVID-19.
On July 6, the agency said it had revised the authorization, allowing for authorized state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid to eligible patients.
"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 who are eligible to receive this drug for the treatment of COVID-19," Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement at the time.
FDA SAYS COVID PILL PAXLOVID CAN BE PRESCRIBED BY PHARMACISTS
There were "certain limitations" that would ensure patients were properly assessed and prescribed the drug.
How much does it cost, and who is eligible to take it?
Paxlovid is provided for free by the U.S. government while there is a public health emergency.
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A five-day course of Paxlovid costs $530 (the U.S. government paid $5.3 billion for 10 million courses of Paxlovid in November 2021), and those authorized who report a positive home test result from a rapid antigen diagnostic test or a positive PCR test, to their provider are eligible for the pill.
Experts say patients should ask their physicians about being prescribed Paxlovid as soon as possible, as treatments are most effective when taken early on.
Patients who test positive can also be prescribed Paxlovid at pharmacies. Patients should bring health records for pharmacists to review for kidney and liver problems.
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Patients with reduced kidney function may need a lower dose of the treatment.
The pills are also available at some mobile "test-to-treat" sites.
Reuters contributed to this report.