Pills and monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID remain scarce in Arizona

PHOENIX — Emerging outpatient antiviral treatments for COVID-19 are still being rationed in Arizona due to shortages, the head of the state’s largest health care network said Monday.

Dr. Marjorie Bessel, clinical director of Banner Health, said three treatments have received emergency use authorization for COVID from the Food and Drug Administration: Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, which come in pill form, and Sotrovimab, intravenous monoclonal antibody therapy.

Banner has stopped using other monoclonal antibodies because they are not effective in treating infections caused by the omicron variant, which is now responsible for nearly all new cases of COVID-19.

Patients must meet state-established criteria to be eligible for antiviral treatments, but even then, “not everyone who qualifies will receive them,” Bessel told reporters in an online briefing.

COVID patients over 70 and those with major immunosuppression have top priority.

“Patients must meet the criteria to receive a referral or prescription for these treatments, so it’s important that you see your PCP or an emergency care provider as soon as you start experiencing symptoms,” she said. declared. “Your provider will determine if you are eligible for these treatments.”

Information on where to fill a prescription for antivirals can be found by calling the Arizona Department of Health Services coronavirus hotline, 844-542-8201.

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