Pharmacists can assess eligible COVID-19 positive patients and prescribe oral antiviral medication at most locations
CVS Pharmacy first to offer the service nationwide
WOONSOCKET, R.I. Nov. 15, 2022 CVS Pharmacy today announced that pharmacists at more than 9,000 CVS Pharmacy locations can clinically assess COVID-19 positive patients and, if eligible, prescribe Paxlovid, an oral antiviral treatment. In July, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognized the clinical capabilities of pharmacists and granted them the authority to evaluate patients with COVID-19 and prescribe Paxlovid to clinically eligible patients. After evaluating the FDA's guidance and implementing required systems, policies, and training, CVS Pharmacy is now offering the service in 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
"Enabling pharmacists to evaluate patients and prescribe Paxlovid when clinically appropriate increases patient access and reduces barriers to care and treatment for those who need it," said Prem Shah, PharmD, Executive Vice President, CVS Health, and President and Chief Pharmacy Officer, CVS Pharmacy. "Paxlovid has proven to be an important tool in the fight against COVID-19 by helping to reduce the severity of symptoms in patients at high risk for severe cases of the illness."
Accessing COVID-19 care and treatment at CVS Pharmacy
Symptomatic patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 can visit CVS.com or the CVS Pharmacy app to seek care and potential treatment through an over-the-phone assessment with their local pharmacist. Prior to clinical assessment by a pharmacist, patients are asked to complete a series of screening questions online to determine eligibility and must attest to having tested positive for COVID-19.
"One of the important benefits of this service is the convenience it affords our patients," Shah continued. "We are already seeing that some patients can log into the digital scheduler, schedule an appointment, be evaluated by a pharmacist, and receive their medication in just a few hours, which is critical for this medication to be effective."
For a pharmacist to prescribe Paxlovid to clinically eligible patients, the patient must have had certain bloodwork performed in the past 12 months and must provide supporting documentation or electronic records. Pharmacists are required to review a patient's kidney and liver blood test values before prescribing Paxlovid. Not all pharmacist assessments will result in a prescription. Data provided by the patient during the eligibility screening, as well as notes from the pharmacist's assessment, are securely stored in the patient's electronic health record and shared with their primary care provider ensuring continuity of care across the patient's health care team.
Helping prevent the spread of COVID-19
In addition to pharmacists evaluating and treating COVID-19 positive patients, select CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations are offering bivalent COVID-19 booster doses to adults and children five years of age and older. Appointments at CVS Pharmacy can be scheduled digitally through CVS.com or the CVS Pharmacy app, and appointments at MinuteClinic can be scheduled through MinuteClinic.com, with times available seven days a week, including evening and weekend hours.
Bivalent vaccines offer better protection against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant and have been authorized for use as a single booster dose at least two months after primary or booster vaccination. The CDC has said that COVID-19 vaccinations may be co-administered with the flu vaccination. The digital scheduler allows patients to schedule a bivalent COVID-19 booster and flu vaccination during the same visit.
Meeting at-home COVID-19 testing needs
With the likelihood of cold, flu and COVID-19 cases increasing as winter approaches, CVS Pharmacy has ensured ample supply of at-home COVID-19 tests kits. Available tests include a new CVS Health1 brand test that features a QR code with a link to instructions for a pharmacist assessment for Paxlovid when testing positive. At-home COVID-19 tests can be secured through a patient's prescription benefit plan or by paying out-of-pocket and can be purchased in-store, purchased online and delivered, or purchased online and picked up in store at no cost. Because commercial, Medicare and Medicaid plans vary, patients should contact their insurance provider to confirm their coverage policy and claims submission process.
CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health, is America's leading retail pharmacy with more than 9,000 locations, including over 1,700 pharmacies inside Target and Schnucks grocery stores. We are committed to delivering innovative health solutions that create a simpler, more accessible experience for patients, customers, and caregivers. CVS Pharmacy is the only national pharmacy to remove tobacco products from its shelves and has taken a leadership role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by making testing and vaccinations available at locations across the United States. For the latest product and service offerings, visit www.cvs.com or download the CVS Pharmacy app.