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Who qualifies for the federal COVID pill program?

"Test to Treat" program explained
Paxlovid
Posted at 8:38 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 07:21:52-05

TAMPA, Fla — William Parker and the folks over at DeliveRxd pharmacy are hoping to clear up some confusion after the federal government's "Test to Treat" program was recently announced. The goal is to get free COVID-19 treatment pills into the hands of folks who test positive.

But Parker says in practice, the process isn't that simple.

"The dispensing of Paxlovid is free of charge whether you have Medicare, Medicaid, or you're uninsured or commercial insurance," said Parker, the DeliveRxd Pharmacy owner.

He adds that while the pills may be free, the process to get them may not. First, to qualify you likely have to get your test done at a site that offers both COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 pill prescriptions, like DeliveRxd pharmacy.

"We do have the ability to test and treat here," said Parker.

Then, you need to get an assessment done. Especially if you're offered the COVID-19 pill called "Paxlovid," because of several potential side effects.

"Any liver or kidney will have to be assessed, potential lab evaluations will have to be reviewed to make sure Paxlovid is safe for those people. With kidney dysfunction, the dosage has to be changed and altered," said Parker, "And again, there are numerous drug interactions so we'd need to get a full medication list."

Because of these possible interactions, Parker says he prefers to offer patients who are COVID-19 positive the monoclonal antibody treatment called Sotrovimab. It's done through an IV in 30 minutes and the pharmacy will send someone to your home to do it.

RELATED: Pfizer studying use of its COVID pill treatment in children

"Very few adverse effects if any. Just like the vaccine, there's a one in 10,000 or one in 20,000 risk of anaphylaxis. But we have the nurse stay on sight for a full hour after the infusion to monitor for any anaphylaxis," said Parker.

While DeliveRxd has those two COVID-19 treatment options, Parker also tells ABC Action News that they also have a COVID-19 prevention option, that's specifically designed for the immunocompromised.

It's called Evusheld and it got emergency approval from the FDA back in December. The drug acts as a vaccine of sorts, for people whose immune systems are compromised or suppressed.

The two-dose shot gives those folks synthetic COVID-19 antibodies because their immune systems struggle to make their own antibodies when given other vaccines. The DeliveRxd pharmacy says they have hundreds of doses waiting to be used.