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The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has issued an advisory information to community pharmacy contractors about Paxlovid antiviral treatment for non-hospitalised patients.

“Patients will be assessed to see if they meet the criteria for inclusion and will need careful checking to see if Paxlovid therapy is safe due to the significant number of drug interactions. Assessment and prescribing are provided via dedicated services with dispensing and supply arranged by the central supply service or via participating community pharmacies,” said the PDA.

Every pharmacist can support this service by making themselves familiar with the service set up in their area. This is so that they can provide advice and signpost to healthcare colleagues and patients.

Pharmacists working in general practice may also be able to help with identifying newly diagnosed highest risk patients. Whilst most of this group should have already been identified and contacted, no system is entirely foolproof.

The PDA’s advisory note provides information around indemnity and links to information about the prescribing and administration of Paxlovid since it is being provided under a temporary authorisation, and is subject to numerous drug-drug interactions, and is a recommended first-line treatment.

The NHS is offering antibody and antiviral treatments to people with Covid-19 who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract the virus.

Paxlovid is one of four anti-viral therapies available for the treatment of the highest risk patients with Covid-19 infection in the community. Pharmacists are playing an integral part in the supply chain.

Whether this is as chief pharmacists in hospital trusts dealing with the order and supply of medications and medicines information, trained pharmacist assessors in the Welsh service, or pharmacists dispensing and delivering antivirals in the Scottish service.

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