US allows pharmacists to prescribe Pfizer's COVID-19 pill
Paxlovid has been shown to curb the worst effects of COVID-19 but it has to be started within five days of symptoms. Previously, only doctors could prescribe it.
U.S. pharmacists can now prescribe the leading COVID-19 pill directly to patients.
The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that pharmacists can begin screening patients to see if they are eligible and then prescribe Pfizer's drug Paxlovid.
Previously, only doctors could prescribe it.
Paxlovid has been shown to curb the worst effects of COVID-19 but it has to be started within five days of symptoms.
Paxlovid is intended for people with COVID-19 who are more likely to become seriously ill. That includes older people and those with other health conditions.
Expanding the test-to-treat program to include pharmacists could add thousands of additional options for patients. The two biggest U.S. drugstore chains — CVS Health and Walgreens — run around 19,000 locations combined.
There also are nearly 19,400 independent pharmacies not tied to a big chain, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association.