Virologist: Paxlovid drug for COVID-19 should be widely available at a pharmacy at a reasonable price
Paxlovid for COVID-19 should be widely available at a pharmacy at a reasonable price. Currently, it is difficult to find, and if it is, it costs nearly 6,000. PLN – told PAP virologist Prof. Agnieszka Szuster-Ciesielska. Many hospitalizations and deaths could have been avoided, she said.
The expert was asked to refer to the information from the Ministry of Health about the current peak of the spring wave of coronavirus. She noted that we are in a much better situation than in previous waves of illness due to the availability of vaccines and acquired immunity after suffering from COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, we are currently seeing an increase in deaths, which is the result of earlier infections. The infection dynamics have indeed decreased, but the virus reproduction rate is still above one, which means that the number of deaths will increase in the coming days. It is not yet time to talk about extinguishing this wave of coronavirus, although it seems that the peak is close” – assessed Prof. Szuster-Ciesielska.
According to information from the Ministry of Health, over 3.4 thousand cases were detected on Wednesday. new cases of the disease per 9.9 thous. tests performed. “A 30% percentage of positive tests is a lot. According to the WHO, the safe limit is 5%, because it indicates that we are fully monitoring the epidemic situation” – explained the virologist.
Referring to the increasing number of deaths due to COVID-19, she drew attention to the problem of access to the most effective COVID-19 drug for Polish patients.
“Paxlovid should be widely available at a pharmacy at a reasonable price. Currently, it is difficult to find, and if it is, it costs nearly 6,000. zloty. I believe that ordinary Kowalski cannot afford it” – said Prof. Szuster-Ciesielska.
She believes many hospitalizations and deaths could have been avoided if the drug had been widely available at a low cost.
“The goal of health policy is to prevent severe COVID-19 disease and deaths. Vaccines alone are not enough, especially since their effectiveness decreases over time. Therefore, an effective and cheap drug should be widely available so that people most at risk of complications can avoid them” – added the expert.
She reminded that paxlovid is intended for people with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and at risk of severe COVID-19. She pointed to its high efficiency – approx. 90 percent. reducing the risk of death, provided that it is administered within 5 days of the onset of symptoms.
“In the United States, it is free for insured persons. In Germany, its price oscillates around the price of dinner, in Poland it costs nearly 6,000. PLN, which is a prohibitive fee for most patients. I know that some people take matters into their own hands and ask friends or family in Germany for help” – said Prof. Szuster-Ciesielska.
The Ministry of Health, when asked by PAP about the issue of paxlovid reimbur*****t, indicated that, in accordance with the Reimbur*****t Act, it is the responsible entity (manufacturer, importer of the drug) who submits the application for reimbur*****t and setting the official selling price of a drug, food for particular nutritional uses or a medical device.
The Ministry of Health informed PAP that on February 24, 2023, Pfizer Polska Sp. z o. o. submitted an application for reimbur*****t and determination of the official selling price of the drug Paxlovid (nirmatrelvirum + ritonavirum) as part of pharmacy reimbur*****t. The application is being evaluated.
Prof. Agnieszka Szuster-Ciesielska also referred to the legitimacy of administering the fifth dose of the COVID-9 vaccine.
“I believe that the best option would be to give the possibility of vaccination with the fifth dose to all those who have been 6 months since the last vaccination” – said Prof. Szuster-Ciesielska, with the reservation that if the Ministry of Health chooses a different variant, these vaccines should be made available at least to people over 50 years of age.
Health Minister Adam Niedzielski announced on Wednesday that the decision on the fifth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will probably be made in the next two weeks. He informed that an analysis of the ways of approaching this issue in other countries is underway. (PAP)
Author: Gabriel Bogaczyk
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