Pills, monoclonal antibodies for treating COVID remain scarce in Arizona

Jan 24, 2022, 4:00 PM

PHOENIX – Emerging outpatient antiviral treatments for COVID-19 are still being rationed in Arizona because of scarcity, the leader of the state’s largest health care network said Monday.

Dr. Marjorie Bessel, chief clinical officer for Banner Health, said three therapeutics have received emergency use authorization for COVID from the Food and Drug Administration: Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, which come as pills, and Sotrovimab, an intravenous monoclonal antibody therapy.

Banner has discontinued use of other monoclonal antibodies because they aren’t effective in treating infections caused by the omicron variant, which is now responsible for nearly every new case of COVID-19.

Patients must meet criteria set by the state to be eligible for the antiviral treatments, but even then, “not all who qualify will receive them,” Bessel told reporters during an online briefing.

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

“Patients must meet criteria to receive a referral or prescription for these treatments, so it is important that you consult with your PCP or an urgent care provider as soon as you start experiencing symptoms,” she said. “Your provider will determine if you qualify for these treatments.”

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

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Pills, monoclonal antibodies for treating COVID remain scarce in Arizona