Apr 25, 2022 - Health

COVID pill to be widely available soon, White House says

Boxes of Paxlovid lie on a table.
Photo: Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Biden administration is preparing to announce plans this week to make Pfizer's COVID-19 pill available at almost any pharmacy in the U.S. after early shortages.

Why it matters: The drug, Paxlovid, was called a potential "game-changer" for its ability to treat infections at home and keep individuals at risk of severe illness out of the hospital.

  • But availability has been spotty, making access difficult as COVID cases begin to rise from Omicron again.

Driving the news: The administration will be trying to send the message that Paxlovid is no longer scarce and that doctors should prescribe it, Bloomberg reports. Paxlovid is available now at about 20,000 locations nationally, they write.

  • "Months ago, Paxlovid was scarce," White House COVID response coordinator Ashish Jha tweeted. "With lots of work, this is no longer the case,"
  • Use of oral antivirals jumped 103% between March 27 and April 10, an official told Bloomberg.

Yes, but: Future use still depends on what happens to congressional support for COVID funding.

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