U.S. FDA has allowed pharmacists to prescribe COVID-19 pill

Experts say that the recent move will allow a greater access to the treatment of COVID-19

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An announcement was made by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on July 6, 2022 that it has authorized the state-licensed pharmacists so they can prescribe  the COVID-19 pill by Pfizer Inc. for the eligible patients. The recent move will help to improve access towards the treatment. Paxlovid, is an anti-viral drug that has been cleared for use and available for free in the United States since the month of December, 2021. But ever since then, only half of about 4 million courses that have been distributed to pharmacies, have been administered.

The usage of the pills has increased in recent times as the number of infections had relatively increased. The pill is used to treat people who are newly infected  and at-risk people to prevent severe illness. Patrizia Cavazzoni, the director of the FDA’s Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research in a statement said that he drug Paxlovid has to be taken by the patient within five days after the symptoms begin. Cavazzoni added that authorizing the state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid would enable a timely treatment for the patients.

The agency has also said that the patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 will have to bring their health records for the pharmacists so they can review the kidney and liver problems. Although the American Medical Association has insisted that the prescriptions should be made  by a doctor wherever possible. Jack Resnec, the president at AMA said that the drug Paxlovid is not for everyone  and prescribing it would require  the medical history of the patient along with clinical monitoring for the side effects.

The FDA has also clarified that the pharmacists should refer the patient to  a healthcare professional who is licensed to prescribe drugs, in case of absence of information about kidney or liver function. The agency has also warned that a patient with a reduced kidney function might need a lower dose of the treatment.

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