Exclusive: Over 1 million courses of Paxlovid prescribed in one month for first time
July marked the first month that more than 1 million courses of Pfizer's COVID antiviral Paxlovid were prescribed, according to Biden administration figures provided to Axios.
The big picture: There were 1.26 million courses dispensed last month, a 37% increase over June. Additionally, more Paxlovid was dispensed in the month of July than that prescribed from January through May combined, per the Department of Health and Human Services.
- More than one third of all reported coronavirus cases in July were treated with Paxlovid, which represents the highest percentage of cases yet treated with the drug.
The big picture: In the months after Paxlovid was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, there was a "substantial gap in prescribing between individuals in high and low social vulnerability areas," according to an HHS spokesperson.
- "Over the past two months, though, we have worked to reduce the equity gap by more than two-thirds — from 31% to 10%," the spokesperson said.
What's happening: The Biden administration is working with Pfizer on a new initiative to offer Paxlovid to 9,000 health providers in more vulnerable areas where it is harder to access the drug.
- "This will mean more product already positioned in their communities and readily available when needed," per HHS.
Between the lines: The Biden administration has promoted Paxlovid is an effective tool to battle COVID, but some medical experts have questioned how exactly the drug can help those who are vaccinated.
- It remains unclear how often so-called "rebound" infections — such as President Biden's — can occur.
- The drug has shown to be 89% effective on unvaccinated adults, as well as for high-risk patients.
- Pfizer also said in June that Paxlovid didn't significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization or death in people with a standard risk of developing severe infections.