(BCN) – Federal regulators authorized state-licensed pharmacists Wednesday to prescribe the COVID-19 medication Paxlovid, enabling eligible patients to receive the medication over the counter.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration revised its Emergency Use Authorization for the medication, allowing licensed pharmacists to prescribe it to COVID-positive patients who present recent health records and a list of medications they take regularly.
Those who test positive for COVID are advised to primarily seek care from their normal health care provider or a “test to treat” site, which offer consultations with a physician who, if they determine it is medically necessary, can prescribe antiviral medication that can reduce the chance of serious illness.
However, Wednesday’s action will also allow state-licensed pharmacists at retail pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens to provide the medication.
“The FDA recognizes the important role pharmacists have played and continue to play in combatting this pandemic,” said Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, the director of 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,” she said.
Patients will be required to present health records from the last calendar year to review for potential kidney or liver problems and a list of medications they regularly take to rule out potentially harmful interactions with Paxlovid.
Pharmacists can also contact a patient’s regular physician or refer patients to a physician or a registered nurse to evaluate their eligibility for Paxlovid if they can’t present recent medical records.
Information about Paxlovid can be found here.
In a statement, CVS told KRON4 that “Our pharmacy teams have been on the frontlines of the pandemic since it began and are trusted health care providers in their communities. We’re pleased that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes the clinical capabilities of pharmacists and are currently evaluating their guidance and actively working to expand access for patients by positioning our pharmacists to assess patients and prescribe oral antivirals as appropriate.”