By Oriana Gonzalez

The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it’s allowing state-authorized pharmacists to prescribe Pfizer’s antiviral treatment Paxlovid.

Driving the news: It’s a win for pharmacies, which had been pushing for the FDA to allow them to prescribe the medication, saying that it would ultimately expand access to the antivirals.

  • Paxlovid is authorized for the treatment of “mild-to-moderate” COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients that have tested positive and are considered to be at high risk of developing severe disease.

State of play: The FDA revised its Emergency Use Authorization for Paxlovid to allow pharmacists to prescribe the medication under specific limitations. Patients must test positive for the virus and show health records for a pharmacist to review for kidney or liver problems.

  • Patients must also show pharmacists a list of all the medications they are taking in case they have “potentially serious interactions with Paxlovid.”

What they’re saying: “The FDA recognizes the important role pharmacists have played and continue to play in combatting this pandemic,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, director for the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

  • “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.” 

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