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HSE says antiviral Covid pills will be prescribed to in-patients from next week

Paxlovid will be available through GPs after a consultation process concludes, the HSE told The Journal.

THE HSE HAS said that an antiviral Covid drug will begin to be prescribed to in-patients from next week.

The Irish Times reported earlier this evening that Ireland had received a shipment of 5,000 doses of Pfizer’s antiviral pill for treatment against Covid-19 - Paxlovid.

Paxlovid reduces the ability of the virus to multiply in your body. It’s estimated to reduce the risk of hospitalisation by as much as 90%.

In a statement to The Journal, the HSE said that deliveries of Paxlovid have been received, and that the antiviral drug would be available in hospitals from next week for in-patients.

The HSE added that the antiviral drug would be available through GPs at a later date, “following conclusion of a consultation process”.

The HSE has been working for several months to prepare for the availability of therapeutics for people with Covid-19 and how to introduce them to Ireland’s healthcare system to make them available to patients.

The HSE said: “Information was circulated this evening to acute hospitals with information on the product and its use, and consultation with GP representative bodies is at an advanced stage.

“These steps will allow the HSE to provide the necessary clinical guidance, practical arrangements, and information supports for prescribers in the community.”

HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said: ‘We’re happy to see another available therapy coming onstream to augment our care for those most at-risk from Covid-19.

Paxlovid is now becoming available, and is provided in tablet form as opposed to an infusion in hospital.

The HSE said that Covid-19 therapeutics will be used for people with health conditions that put them at the highest risk from becoming gravely ill if they contract Covid-19.

Product availability is limited internationally, and products are subject to regulatory review and approval for use, and a clinical prioritisation process.

“Sotrovimab, another therapeutic product, is currently being prescribed in hospitals around Ireland to Covid-positive patients who are considered high-priority,” the HSE said.

“All hospitals in Ireland have access to this therapeutic, however recent evidence shows that this product is less effective against the currently circulating BA.2 variant of Covid-19.”

The HSE has published updated public and patient information about Paxlovid, which you can read here.

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