Private hospitals prep for Paxlovid

PETALING JAYA: The antiviral medication Paxlovid would be made available soon in private hospitals, says the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia.

Its president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh thanked Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, saying that the association was happy that the antiviral drug would be given free to Covid-19 patients.

“We are working with the government to make it available in private hospitals as the approval to use Paxlovid was obtained two weeks ago.

“The circular and guidelines were released last week and several private hospitals are making all preparations to complete the required documentation in order to have the antiviral drug prescribed in their facilities,” he said in a statement.

Dr Kuljit urged the public to be patient as the medication may only reach pharmacies by the end of this week at the earliest, or next week, with several private hospitals trying to obtain the drug from nearby public hospitals if the need arises.

He said although the number of new Covid-19 cases was low compared with last year, private hospitals should prepare themselves in case there is a surge in infections.

“Adequate supply of Paxlovid will help in preventing progression of Category 3 patients to Category 5, and based on our experience last year, the strain to the public and private healthcare is when intensive care unit beds get fully occupied with severe Covid-19 patients in Categories 4 and 5.

“The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia will continuously work with the Health Ministry in assisting Covid-19 patients who require treatment, particularly those who can afford private healthcare,” he added.

Paxlovid is the latest Covid-19 treatment that was granted emergency use authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration last December for anyone aged 12 and older, who weighs at least 40kg, and is at high risk for severe disease.

Paxlovid is taken orally in the form of a pill and can help keep high-risk patients from getting so sick that they need to be hospitalised.

In an earlier statement, Khairy said his ministry had distributed the circulars and guidelines on the expansion and use of the drug to private healthcare providers on June 16.

“The provision of the drug to patients at private health facilities is free. However, patients are still subject to consultation charges and other related charges determined by the private health facility,” he added.

Paxlovid is the first oral antiviral drug available in Malaysia and has been available in facilities under the ministry since April 15, with priority given to patients in high-risk groups.

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