July marked the first month that more than 1 million courses of Pfizer’s COVID antiviral Paxlovid were prescribed, according to Biden administration figures provided to Axios.
The big picture: There were 1.26 million courses dispensed last month, a 37% increase over June. Additionally, more Paxlovid was dispensed in the month of July than that prescribed from January through May combined, per the Department of Health and Human Services.
More than one third of all reported coronavirus cases in July were treated with Paxlovid, which represents the highest percentage of cases yet treated with the drug. The big picture: In the months after Paxlovid was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, there was a “substantial gap in prescribing between individuals in high and low social vulnerability areas,” according to an HHS spokesperson.
“Over the past two months, though, we have worked to reduce the equity gap by more than two-thirds — from 31% to 10%,” the spokesperson said.What’s happening: The Biden administration is working with Pfizer on a new initiative to offer Paxlovid to 9,000 health providers in more vulnerable areas where it is harder to access the drug.
“This will mean more product already positioned in their communities and readily available when needed,” per HHS.Between the lines: The Biden administration has promoted Paxlovid is an effective tool to battle COVID, but some medical experts have questioned how exactly the drug can help those who are vaccinated.
It remains unclear how often so-called “rebound” infections — such as President Biden’s — can occur. The drug has shown to be 89% effective on unvaccinated adults, as well as for high-risk patients.Pfizer also said in June that Paxlovid didn’t significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization or death in people with a standard risk of developing severe infections.