Professor Michael Kidd AM
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health
Professor Michael Kidd:
Oral treatments for COVID-19 represent a new landmark in our response to managing the virus. Lagevrio and Paxlovid have been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to treat COVID-19 in adults at high risk of progression to severe disease. The advantage of these medications taken as tablets or capsules, is that many people will be able to receive treatment in their own homes rather than in hospital.
Lagevrio and Paxlovid were initially distributed through the National Medical Stockpile to reach vulnerable groups of people, including those living in residential aged care facilities, those in rural and remote communities, people living with a disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Lagevrio is now also listed on the PBS. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and is available for prescription by GP's and dispensing through community pharmacies for eligible patients.
For each of these prescription only medicines administration needs to start as soon as possible after a COVID-19 diagnosis and certainly within five days. Basically the sooner the treatment is started, the better the outcome. Now I know many people will be interested in taking these treatments or having them prescribed for loved ones, but they're not for everyone and so doctors will need to work with their patients to consider whether each individual is suitable.
There is no doubt that these oral COVID-19 treatments are very welcome They'll help to save lives, especially as we approach winter with a potential increase in cases. However, they should not be seen as a replacement for vaccination which remains the most effective protection against COVID-19. For more information on the oral treatments, please head to the health dot gov dot au website.