There has been a lot of discussion about Pfizer’s Paxlovid and how well it works for COVID-19. We wanted to just let the public know why we chose not to stock the drug.
When we first heard that Paxlovid was coming out, we were very excited. Not only was the drug coming out, but the government was allowing pharmacists to prescribe and dispense the medication. It looked like this could be a great thing for the profession.
So, we decided to see what the reimbursement would be for assessing the patient, verifying eligibility, filling the prescription, and then counseling the patient on the medication. All of the above steps are required by law and we estimate that it would take at least 10-15 minutes to perform all of those tasks. In addition to all of that time involved, we would be required to supply a label, patient education leaflet, and a paper bag.
We then found out what the government decided was a fair reimbursement for all of those services…….78 cents. Yes, less than a dollar. That does not cover the costs of the supplies we have to provide. It definitely does not cover any of the pharmacist wages. So, we could not afford to participate in the program. We would end up having to pay to do all of that work. As a small business, we will have to let the big chains eat the cost on that program.
Update: Due to lack of participation from pharmacies, the fee has been raised by a few dollars, but still not enough to cover the mountain of paperwork that the government requires. Still under $10 to diagnose a patient, verify eligibility, and then dispense the medication and perform counseling on how to use it. If they ever decide to provide a fair reimbursement, we will gladly join the program.
Also, please be aware that the CDC reported that Paxlovid can cause rebound COVID.