Canada is now armed with 30,000 courses of Pfizer’s oral antiviral treatment Paxlovid, a pill that is expected to be effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death due to COVID. Already, policy-makers are scratching their heads wondering how to best distribute the pill.
Here’s an idea: Prescribe it through telemedicine.
Since the onset of the pandemic, all provinces have made a considerable effort to up their telemedicine game. In Quebec, the rules surrounding remote consultations enable doctors to prescribe a new drug to a patient without having to complete an in-person evaluation, if the medical professional deems it safe to do so. As such, if a patient can provide proof of a positive COVID test, whether with a PCR or an at-home rapid test, a nurse practitioner or a doctor could write up a prescription for Pfizer’s pill following a teleconsultation.
Facilitating access to this new drug by using the tools and skills that have been developed over the past two years could play a key role in putting an end to the seemingly endless waves of COVID lockdowns.