Two newly developed COVID-19 pills are in short supply in America. Doctors believe it could impact the lives of many people who are currently hospitalized.
COVID pills shortage leaves patients at risk
Erin McCreary, a pharmacist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, claimed this should be the easiest phase of the pandemic, due to the discovery of two important pills. However, this is turning out to be the most critical phase.
While health officials are hoping the supply of the pills will be available soon, doctors are struggling to find pills immediately, as other medications are yielding ineffective against the omicron variant.
Almost six to eight months are required to manufacture Pfizer’s pill, which is considered to be the best choice currently.
Hawaii hospital capacity in question with shortage of workers, new COVID anti-viral pills https://t.co/nEMLOGMujT
— howzitkohala (@howzitkohala) January 6, 2022
Dr. Myron Cohen, a virologist of the University of North Carolina, claimed January would be the worst month regarding the pandemic. Daily cases are about to cross one million.
Therefore, relevant authorities are giving the remaining available pills to patients in dire need of them.
In December 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pfizer and Merck COVID pills after determining both of them can help counter the virus if taken immediately after the onset of the symptoms.
This could ultimately result in low hospitalization and deaths, which can reduce the burden on hospitals at the end of the day.
Although America ordered more than 20 million Paxlovid pills, the first ten million orders will be delivered in June. Pfizer already indicated the company can only provide almost 250,000 pills by the end of January.
Jeff Zients, a White House coordinator, asserted the government is collaborating with Pfizer to speed up the process of acquiring COVID tablets, amid looking for methods that can boost production.
Merck’s pills are available, but can have side effects
Meanwhile, Pfizer claimed the company is relying on its strong manufacturing capabilities to improve the quality of the finalized products.
On the other hand, molnupiravir, Merck’s pill, is relatively easy to manufacture; thus, it is available in greater quantities. However, the data shows it is not as effective as Paxlovid, with significant risks associated with it.
These risks included birth defects for pregnant women; thus, they are being considered as a last choice for COVID patients.
Pfizer pill becomes 1st US-authorized home COVID treatment (from @AP)
Any chance Ontario will get any of the Pfizer Paxlovid medication? 3 pills 2x day for 5 days, taken within 3-5 days of symptoms. Severe shortage of this new drug. https://t.co/qvJ4d0x2tU
— sheila brown (@sheilab06007273) December 22, 2021
According to Merck, the company delivered over 900,000 pills and will deliver almost three million more by the end of January.
Last month, the government gave all states their share of Pfizer pills in accordance with the population sizes. However, this approach has been criticized by smaller states, which are greatly impacted by the omicron variant.
Dr. Mary Bassett, the Health Commissioner of New York, said the state is being given a meager amount of pills to treat 20,000 patients, which is not enough to reduce hospitalizations in the state.