US orders 10 million more courses of Pfizer's COVID-19 antiviral

The U.S. is purchasing an additional 10 million courses of Paxlovid, Pfizer's COVID-19 antiviral, the drugmaker said Jan. 4.

This is in addition to the 10 million courses the government purchased in the fall for $5 billion. The first 10 million Paxlovid treatment courses are set to be delivered by the end of June, with the second half to come by the end of September. Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies said they were ready to begin dispensing Pfizer's Paxlovid and Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics' antiviral molnupiravir at select locations in a limited number of states Dec. 29. 

The FDA authorized Paxlovid on Dec. 22 for use in COVID-19 patients 12 and older who weigh at least 88 pounds and are at high risk of progressing to severe illness. On Jan. 3, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices issued an alert warning pharmacists of potential error risks with Paxlovid, stating that patients with severe renal impairment should not receive the drug, and patients with moderate renal impairment should receive a dose reduction. 

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