16 more clinics to join pilot programme to prescribe Paxlovid to Covid-19 patients

MOH will fully cover the drug cost of Paxlovid use in primary care settings. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - More Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) will be progressively joining a pilot programme to prescribe the drug Paxlovid to certain Covid-19 patients.

These will be patients who are at risk of severe disease and who are assessed by their doctor to be clinically eligible to receive the treatment, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Tuesday (April 19).

Sixteen more PHPCs will come on board this programme, joining all polyclinics and the 20 PHPCs that are currently participating in the pilot initiative.

For now, MOH said, it will fully cover the drug cost of Paxlovid use in primary care settings, regardless of a patient's vaccination status.

This is because it can reduce the likelihood of high-risk patients developing severe Covid-19 and requiring hospital admission, the ministry said.

"The charging policy for Paxlovid will be reviewed in due course," it added.

Early treatment with Paxlovid may also be considered for Covid-19 patients who meet certain criteria.

These include Covid-19-positive patients who are 18 years and older, see a doctor within five days of illness, and are at risk of developing severe disease. Such patients include those who have active cancer, serious heart conditions, or an immunosuppressive condition, or are receiving treatment for it.

"As Paxlovid has potential interactions with many other commonly used medications, the decision to take Paxlovid has to be carefully considered by the primary care doctor, and after discussion with the patients on the benefits and risks," MOH said.

It added that it will continue to monitor the use of Paxlovid and review the patient outcomes.

"We will also monitor the demand closely and maintain a healthy stock of Paxlovid," MOH said.

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