Coronavirus: Medical Treatments

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 22 June 2022.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that sufficient antiviral supply is in place for (a) pharmacies and (b) GPs to provide a test to treat scheme that enables people in vulnerable and elderly groups for whom vaccines might be less effective to get access to effective treatment quickly after testing positive for covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Maggie Throup Maggie Throup The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government has secured a supply of 4.98 million patient courses of two oral COVID-19 antiviral treatments, nirmatrelvir + ritonavir and molnupiravir. At present, those in the highest risk patient cohort who test positive for the virus can directly access antivirals and free lateral flow device testing through the integrated triage and treatment service delivered by the COVID Medicines Delivery Units (CMDUs). This patient cohort includes people at the highest risk from severe disease progression, including those who cannot take a vaccine for medical reasons and those for whom vaccines may be less effective. COVID-19 antivirals cannot currently be accessed via primary care settings. Any decisions on the longer-term deployment of COVID-19 treatments beyond the highest risk groups through CMDUs will be subject to the outcomes of the PANORAMIC study on the effectiveness of antivirals in the United Kingdom population.

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