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Pharmacists can now prescribe Paxlovid, but Michigan pharmacies not quite ready

Paxlovid blister pack, partially opened to reveal one Ritonavir tablet and two Nirmatrelvir tablets.

The federal government authorized pharmacists to prescribe the COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid last week, but the Michigan Pharmacists Association is still working on a plan for implementing the new policy.

Paxlovid had previously been available only through doctors, nurses, and physician assistants.

Jason Pogue, a clinical professor at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, said allowing prescriptions from pharmacists will allow people to get important health care quickly.

"People are much more likely to go to their pharmacy, to interact with their pharmacist, than they are going to be to [interact with] other health care providers, and so you're making it easier for people to get access to this therapy."

Pogue said pharmacy prescription can help mitigate some of the health disparities that have arisen because of differences in access to treatment.

"People who are in undeserved areas, minoritized communities are least likely to get Paxlovid, and so having a pharmacy as a place where they can go and get it, I think, is a huge step in the right direction," he said.

The FDA's authorization keeps some limits on who can get a Paxlovid prescription. Patients have to meet eligibility criteria based on their risk of developing severe COVID.

Toussaint joined Michigan Radio in June 2022 as a newsroom intern. He is a Junior at Howard University in Washington, D.C., majoring in journalism and minoring in Afro-American Studies.
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