'Far beyond a pharmacist's scope and training': AMA objects to FDA's Paxlovid decision

With the hopes of broadening access to COVID-19 care, the FDA on July 6 allowed pharmacists to prescribe Pfizer's antiviral treatment Paxlovid — but the AMA president disagrees with the decision. 

"While the majority of COVID-19 positive patients will benefit from Paxlovid, it is not for everyone and prescribing it requires knowledge of a patient's medical history, as well as clinical monitoring for side effects and follow-up care to determine whether a patient is improving — requirements far beyond a pharmacist’s scope and training," AMA President Jack Resneck Jr., MD, said in a July 6 statement. 

Pharmacists at test-to-treat sites already had been authorized to prescribe Paxlovid, but now any state-licensed pharmacist can prescribe and fill the two-drug regimen. Limitations include reviewing all prescribed and over-the-counter drugs the patient takes, as well as referring the patient to a physician if they have recent kidney or liver problems. 

Other medical organizations, including the American Pharmacists Association, applauded the decision. 

"APhA thanks FDA for recognizing the expertise of pharmacists as critical providers of care for important COVID-19 treatments," the APhA's interim executive vice president and CEO, Ilisa Bernstein, PharmD, said in a July 6 statement. "Opening the door for pharmacists as prescribers will open the door to equitable access at pharmacies in communities across the country."

The FDA's Paxlovid checklist for patient eligibility can be found here.


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