prescription from the family doctor and collection at the pharmacy. Here’s who it is for and why

A great little revolution in the battle against the Covid. Starting today (April 21) also i family doctors they can prescribe the drug antiviral Paxlovid for the early treatment of coronavirus disease. Thus the Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa) in a note published on its website. The decision of theAifa became executive with the publication of the AIFA resolution in the Official Gazette of 20 April. With the prescription of the general practitioner the patient will be able to pick up the drug directly at the pharmacy, without costs to be borne by the citizen and without burdens for the NHS. “Paxlovid is indicated for the treatment of adult patients who do not require supplemental oxygen therapy and who are high risk of severe progression to Covid-19, such as for example patients suffering from oncological diseases, cardiovascular diseases, uncompensated diabetes mellitus, chronic pulmonary disease and severe obesity “, recalls the AIFA.

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Treatment should be started as early as possible, and in any case within 5 days of the onset of symptoms. “The prescription of the drug requires a preventive pharmacological anamnesis, to exclude the presence of any interactions with drugs taken at the same time by the patient – the Aifa experts remark – The summary of the product characteristics and the link to the main websites for the verification of drug interactions ».

SIMPLIFICATION – Antiviral therapy against Covid “is one more weapon,” says the councilor for health of the Lazio Region, Alessio D’Amato. “Today the possibility of prescribing antivirals by general practitioners for the treatment of Covid was published in the official gazette – explains D’Amato -. It is a request that Lazio has always made, a strong simplification: doctors will be able to prescribe them and citizens will be able to collect them at the pharmacy. The stakeholders are those who fall within the characteristics identified by the ministry, fragile and within 72 hours. It is one more weapon that must be used », the conclusion.

RECIPE – With the prescription of the general practitioner, the patient will be able to collect the drug directly from the pharmacy and the distribution to the pharmacy network (through the so-called distribution on behalf) will be free of charge by pharmacists and wholesalers, thanks to a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Health, Aifa and network of pharmacies (Federfarma, Assofarm and FarmacieUnite) and pharmaceutical distributors (Federfarma Servizi and Adf). «However, it is still possible to prescribe it by all Coivd-19 specialist centers identified by the Regions. This mode will guarantee access to the drug in the activation phase of the distribution by pharmacies to the public, as well as in the event that the distribution by pharmacies is temporarily unavailable, “specifies Aifa. The prescription carried out by the general practitioner will be monitored through the electronic prescription system, while the AIFA monitoring register remains active for the treatments prescribed by the Covid-19 centers identified by the Regions and autonomous provinces.

THE PHARMACISTS – “The decision of the Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa) which simplifies access to antiviral drugs for the treatment of Covid-19 opens a new phase in the fight against the pandemic, which hinges on the territory the activities of prescription and dispensing of these medicines with the full involvement of general practitioners and community pharmacies “. This was stated in a note by Andrea Mandelli, president of the Federation of the Orders of Italian Pharmacists (Fofi), recalling that pharmacists immediately became available to allow as many people as possible to benefit from these treatments. “As already happened with the administration of anti-Covid tampons and vaccines – remembers Mandelli – the professionalism of the pharmacist and the capillarity of the pharmacies can, also in this case, play a decisive role in protecting the health of citizens and as an element of efficiency of the Ssn. Giving citizens the possibility of obtaining the antiviral drug more quickly and easily, collecting it directly in the pharmacy near the house, will allow to reduce the severity of the disease and, therefore, the pressure on hospitals, in favor of an ordinary management of the pandemic in the area ” .

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«I thank the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, the Director of Aifa, Nicola Magrini, and the entire Technical-Scientific Commission for the path undertaken. A heartfelt thanks also goes to our pharmacist colleagues: this decision is a further recognition of the role played during the pandemic and of the contribution that the Profession can make for the enhancement of proximity care, working in synergy with all the other NHS professionals ” . «The dispensing of the antiviral drug by local pharmacists – concludes Mandelli – is a fundamental step to make these therapies truly accessible, in large cities as well as in smaller centers. This is an important result, first of all for citizens, but also for the profession, which thus sees another important element added to the model of the service pharmacy, further proof of the closeness to people’s health needs and of the competence in the dispensing of medication and advice to the patient “.

BASSETTI’S DOUBTS – «In my opinion in the end, paradoxically, there will be fewer prescriptions of the Paxlovid antiviral from the family doctor. This is because before Aifa’s approval “for prescription and distribution in pharmacies”, they had teamed up in some locations between family doctors and hospitals. Now obviously, knowing that these will be able to prescribe the antivalent, this team will fail. Unfortunately, one of the many bad things done in Italy ». This was stated by Matteo Bassetti, director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic of the San Martino Polyclinic in Genoa, to Adnkronos Salute. “We are not prepared for this model – adds Bassetti – there is a form to fill out quite demanding with a series of information that configures a lot of bureaucracy on the part of the general practitioner. The treatment plan needs a lot of information that we used to fill out in the hospital and today you will have to be a family doctor. I hope these drugs will be prescribed appropriately. To date they have not been used much because the cases where to use them are very few ».

THE THERAPY – The antiviral “can be distributed through the network of 19,000 Italian pharmacies” and this “will make the drug for the treatment of Covid-19 available and easily accessible”, opening “a new phase in the fight against the pandemic, which hinges on the prescribing and dispensing of these medicines “. This is the comment of the president of Federfarma Marco Cossolo regarding the determination of the Italian Medicines Agency published in the Official Gazette, which makes the memorandum of understanding signed between the Ministry of Health, Aifa, Federfarma Servizi, Federfarma, Assofarm, United Pharmacies and Adf. The medicine, authorized for the early treatment of Covid-19, will be dispensed in the mode of distribution on behalf, upon presentation of a specific medical prescription. “Pharmacies demonstrate, once again, that they operate with a great sense of responsibility towards the community and have always promptly responded to the new health needs that emerged in the various phases of the pandemic,” continues Cossolo. “Now they are ready to guarantee the dispensation of Paxlovid free of charge, to ensure the timeliness of treatment with oral antivirals, which has proved to be fundamental for the success of the treatment.” The distribution of innovative drugs in pharmacies, declares the national secretary of Federfarma Roberto Tobia, “is inherent in the specific professionalism of the pharmacist, who plays an important role in monitoring theadherence to therapy and in the pharmacovigilance activity thanks to the exclusive daily relationship of trust and proximity with the citizen ».

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