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Ohio pharmacists can now prescribe COVID-19 medication Paxlovid

Juice Flair

It may be a little easier now to get the antiviral pill Paxlovid in Northeast Ohio to help fight COVID-19 without seeing a doctor.

Pharmacists can now prescribe the drug after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized it Wednesday.

Previously only physicians could prescribe the antiviral drug.

But call your pharmacy before you go, because not every Ohio pharmacist is prescribing the drug yet, said Cameron McNamee, director of policy and communications at Ohio’s Board of Pharmacy.

“Everyone’s still processing how to implement it," McNamee said.

Pharmacists can now prescribe Paxlovid directly to patients at risk of developing severe symptoms. The medicine has to be taken in the first five days of COVID-19 infection to reduce the risk of severe symptoms.

“This will be a little bit of a change for many of the pharmacists in the state of Ohio because they’re being given this prescriptive authority," McNamee said.

The change was made to expand the use of Pfizer’s drug which has been shown to curb the worst effects of COVID-19.

Calls to a Cleveland Rite-Aid and MetroHealth’s main campus found they are not yet prescribing Paxlovid at their pharmacies.

Some patients had reported having difficulty getting prescriptions to get the medication.

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Lisa Ryan