How to Get Paxlovid Quickly, If You Get Covid
How to get the 89%-effective Covid cure called Paxlovid, despite government red tape
UPDATE: In July, the FDA authorized pharmacists to prescribe this drug, so you may have luck simply doing that and citing any risk factor.
My recent post about Paxlovid noted that regulatory barriers make it hard for people to get the drug, even though it’s an 89%-reliable Covid cure.1 It should also be taken ASAP after symptoms develop — the 89% efficacy statistic requires that it be taken within five days of the start of symptoms.
Good luck actually getting your hands on it.
My old man is a sixty-four year old man of considerable stature and even he was repeatedly denied his attempts of getting Paxlovid treatment. How on earth are the rest of us supposed to get it?
Commenter “Mutagen” writes:
Doctors think it isn't available and won't even be bothered to prescribe it.
Have a high risk friend who was told there wasn't any available when he contracted COVID.
Commenter “272314” writes:
I know [about the efficacy of the drug], and I have covid now, but I can't get it in the UK. Not enough risk factors.
If you’re in the UK, you’re probably screwed. The UK restricts Paxlovid to only people with a few extreme Covid risk factors.
However, as the comments above illustrate, many doctors are poorly informed about the exact requirements, as well as the fact that Paxlovid is now widely available everywhere in the US (in contrast to a couple months ago, when it was not widely available at the peak of the Omicron surge.)
Someone I know well, who just got Covid and has a mild case of it now, tells me:
It took some effort to get a prescription. [My primary care doctor] said I wasn’t eligible, and the few teledoc services I seriously looked into said they don’t prescribe Paxlovid (regardless of eligibility).
Difficultly in quickly getting Paxlovid is a serious issue — even for smart people who are informed about it.
After some hours of trying, my acquaintance found this way to get it:
The website I ended up using was really quick and easy:
After submitting their forms, they called me two hours later to confirm where I wanted to pick it up, and an hour later the CVS had it ready. I don’t recall if there was a place for me to mention my [arguably relevant medical condition], so I called them up and told them about it immediately after submitting the forms. I also checked having hypertension—which is technically true based off my last (potentially rather inaccurate) blood pressure reading of 131.
I hope the above information about accessing the drug helps some people.
In general, young people with Covid don’t need Paxlovid, but it will likely still lessen the symptoms.
But older people with Covid more often do really need it — and especially anyone who isn’t vaccinated, for either ideological or medical reasons.
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As an aside, the above issues of drug access are likely to become extra relevant pretty soon, as the BA.2 Omicron sub-variant is now hitting the US, starting with New York, where a rise in cases and hospitalizations has started:
It’s likely to be less bad than the last wave, but if the UK is any guide, deaths will still be non-trivial. That is, unless Paxlovid is used right, in which case Covid deaths should finally become small compared to other common causes of deaths.
As another aside, the site I linked at the top to help find a pharmacy with Paxlovid is really well done — it’s super cool how it shows pharmacy stocks of the drugs, live, all around the country. Here’s the New York page, for instance:
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NOTE: This post is not medical advice, just my impression based on the data, which was discussed further in this post. Paxlovid also does have interactions with other drugs, so people who are taking drugs should obviously check those out before taking anything.
Here’s the clinical study: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2118542
And here’s the FDA authorization: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-authorizes-first-oral-antiviral-treatment-covid-19