Free telehealth to access COVID-19 antiviral drug offered in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has launched a free telehealth program to screen COVID-19 patient eligibility and provide prescriptions for the new antiviral medication Paxlovid.

State residents 18 and older who test positive for COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms can get free virtual consultations to determine whether they’re candidates for the drug that’s been found to reduce severe infections and hospitalizations from the coronavirus by nearly 90 percent.

“This treatment must be started within five days of symptoms, so it is essential to speak with a clinician right away,” Larry Madoff, MD, medical director of the bureau of infectious disease and laboratory sciences for the Massachusetts health department, said in a May 4 news release.

The program will then send a prescription of the drug to a pharmacy near the patient or, if necessary, ship the medication to the person’s home overnight. The antiviral, which the U.S. government is providing free of charge during the public health emergency, is designed for people who are at higher risk of developing severe cases of COVID-19.

For the project, the state of Massachusetts partnered with Color Health, a population health tech startup based in Burlingame, Calif.

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