Anti-Covid Pill Coming To All U.S. Pharmacies Under Reported Biden Plan


The Biden Administration is working on a plan to make Pfizer’s Covid-19 antiviral pill Paxlovid available across the U.S. following shortages of the lifesaving drug, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing an unnamed administration official.

Key Facts

The Biden Administration will announce next week a plan to enable all U.S. pharmacies to order Paxlovid, greatly increasing the drug’s accessibility to people at risk of serious Covid-19 symptoms, Bloomberg reported.

The administration has already ordered 20 million courses of Paxlovid—or 600 million pills—for 2022, with about 10 million courses due by the end of June and the remaining 10 million due by the end of September.

Though Pfizer’s trials show Paxlovid can reduce the risk of hospitalization or death from Covid-19 by 89%, it remains underutilized, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC April 13.

The White House and Pfizer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Key Background

Paxlovid was hailed as a “game-changer” by administration officials after the medication received a Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization December 22. However, the drug remained difficult to get throughout early 2022, and hospitals from Michigan to Florida reported running low. Months later, Paxlovid is much more accessible, but it is not yet being widely prescribed—possibly because doctors are hesitant to recommend a medication that is unfamiliar to patients, Michigan’s chief medical executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian told NBC. The Biden Administration hopes to raise awareness of Paxlovid as well as making it more accessible, Bloomberg reported. Friday, the World Health Organization officially endorsed Paxlovid as a treatment for high-risk patients, calling it preferable to Merck’s molnupiravir, an oral Covid-19 antiviral that has shown questionable effectiveness in trials.


While useful for patients at high risk of severe Covid-19, such as older people or people with immune disorders, Paxlovid is of “trivial” use for low-risk patients, a WHO panel said.

Further Reading

“WHO Endorses Pfizer’s Antiviral Pill Paxlovid For High-Risk Covid Patients But Says Benefits ‘Trivial’ For Low-Risk Groups” (Forbes)

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