Does Paxlovid, the COVID-19 pill, reach those in need? The government will not say

As the nation largely rejects the mandate of masks, physical distance, and other COVID-19 prevention strategies, elected officials և health departments are also now advocating for antiviral pills. But the federal government does not say how many people have received these potential rescue drugs in California or other states, or whether they are being distributed fairly.

Pfizer’s Paxlovid, in combination with Merck’s molnupiravir, is intended to prevent the death or loss of patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 vulnerability. More than 300 Americans still to die from COVID-19 every day.

The national supply estimates released by the Biden administration from time to time are not the only data needed by local health officials to enable their residents to receive treatment. Recent federal changes designed to allow large pharmacy chains such as CVS և Walgreens to effectively manage their inventories have had unintended consequences. Many public health workers are now unable to see how many doses have been sent to their community or used. And they can not say whether the most vulnerable residents fill prescriptions as often as their wealthy neighbors.

Kaiser Health News has repeatedly asked Health and Human Services officials to share more detailed COVID-19 therapeutic data, to explain how it calculates rates of use, but they have not even shared the total number of patients with Paxlovid.

So far, the most detailed records have been obtained from pharmacists. Pfizer CEO Albert Burla reported: recent revenue call About 79,000 people received Paxlovid in the week ended April 22, up from 8,000 a week two months ago.

Unlike COVID-19 vaccinations or casesHHS does not track the race, ethnicity, age, or race of the people being treated. Vaccine numbers originally published by several states allowed KHN to be identified sharp racial disparities just weeks after publication. Federal data show that blacks are Native Americans died at a higher rate than non-Hispanic white Americans.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has worked to provide access to medical care for its 10 million residents, especially the most vulnerable. When supplies for Paxlovid were limited in the winter, officials there made sure that pharmacies in severely affected communities were well stocked, according to Dr. Seyra Kuryan, the department’s regional health officer. In April, the district launched its own Remote health service assess residents for free treatment, a model that avoids many of the obstacles which make treatment difficult for uninsured, rural or disabled patients in clinics based on profitable pharmacies.

But without federal data, they do not know how many residents in the counties received the pills.

Real-time data will show whether the district is filling prescriptions as expected during growth, or which communities should target public health workers for educational campaigns. Without access to federal systems, the Los Angeles County, which serves more than 40 counties across the state, must use Limited public inventory data that HAAF publishes.

This data set contains only a piece of information and in some cases shows months of information. And because the data exclude certain types of providers, such as nursing homes and veterans’ health facilities, district officials could not say whether patients were taking pills there.

With so little data available, the Kurian team created its own survey asking providers to provide the postal codes of patients treated with COVID-19. Research now makes it easier to find out which pharmacies and clinics need more resources.

But not everyone finishes it, he said. “Often, we still have to make some predictions.”

Staff at the Good Samaritan Health Center in Atlanta will use detailed information to refer low-income patients to pharmacies with Paxlovid. “Although the drug was not readily available during the first growth of Omicron, the next one will be a ‘new frontier,'” said Breana Latrop, the centre’s chief operating officer.

Ideally, he said, his staff will be able to see “everything you need to know in one place”, including which pharmacies have pills in stock when they are open, and whether they offer home delivery. Student volunteers built a similar database for COVID-19 testing during an earlier epidemic.

Paxlovid և molnupiravir became available in the US in late December. They quickly became the mainstay of treatment for non-hospitalized patients, replacing injections of almost all monoclonal antibodies that less effective against current strains of the virus.

Whether the government does not record the use of Paxlovid for racial or ethnic reasons, researchers has followed those trends for first generation infusions.

Amy Fiha is a co-author A study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ch A clinical researcher at Ochsner Health in Louisiana found that Hispanic patients with COVID-19 were significantly less likely to receive that initial outpatient treatment than white, non-Hispanic patients. Other researchers have found that: language difficultiesLack of transport և ignorance There were treatments all contributed to inequality. Feyhan’s study, using data from 41 medical systems, found no significant inconsistencies in hospitalized patients who did not have to seek medication themselves.

Patients at the Good Samarit Health Center in Atlanta often do not know that if they get tested quickly, they can get treatment, Latrop said. Some people think they do not fit in or can not afford it. Others wonder if the pills work or if they are safe. “There are just a lot of questions in people’s minds,” Latrop said, “does it benefit them?”

“When Dr. Jeffrey Klausner was deputy director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health,” our priority was transparency and data sharing, “he said. “It is possible to build trust and cooperate with the community.” Now a professor at the University of Southern California, he said federal officials should share their data as well as gather detailed information about patients being treated – race, ethnicity, age, severity of illness – to correct any inequalities.

Public Health Officials և Researchers who spoke to KHN say that HHS officials may not consider the data to be accurate or staffed to analyze it. Dr. Derek Eisner, Head of HHS Therapeutic Distribution Efforts, suggested the same thing during a meeting on April 27 with state and local health officials. A local official asked the federal agency to share local numbers to increase access to low-income communities. Eisner responded that because HHS does not require suppliers to say how much they use, the report is “mediocre at best,” adding that he does not think his agency’s role is to share that information.

Eisnor said state health departments should now be able to see local orders and use pharmacy chains such as CVS, and that the agency hopes to publish weekly national data online soon. But districts like Los Angeles, which have unsuccessfully turned to federal systems, still do not have the data they need to focus their efforts or the emerging inequalities.

Spokesman Tim Granholm said HHS was looking for ways to share more information with the public.

Recordings of weekly meetings in which HHS officials share updates on distribution plans, answer questions from public health professionals, pharmacists, and clinics; posted online until March. HHS News Agency has repeatedly denied access to the KHN, saying “the recordings are not open to the press.” This is because HHS wants to encourage open conversations during meetings, according to Granholm. He did not say what authority would allow the agency to ban the media from participating in public meetings. KHN received public records through Freedom of Information Act inquiries.

A senior White House official said the Biden administration was trying to get accurate data on how many people were receiving Paxlovid և other treatment, but said that did not determine success by how many people were receiving it. The official said that the focus was on the public knowing that treatments were available, that doctors and other providers understood which patients were eligible for them.

“We still need to know where the pills are going,” Fehan said. “We need that information as soon as possible.”

Until then, the Los Angeles County Courier and his peers will continue to “guess” where residents need more help. “If anyone can just report to us who has that information,” he said, “of course it makes it easier.”

ԽՆ: (Kaiser Health News) is one of the three main operating programs KFF: (Kaiser Family Foundation), a non-profit organization that provides information on health issues.

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