The drug for Covid Paxlovid: the Corona pill is slowly selling in Germany

Status: May 27, 2022 08:14

In Freiburg, the American company Pfizer produces its drug Paxlovid for the world market. But why has it been hardly used in Germany so far, despite the fact that it is expected to significantly reduce the risk of severe courses of Covid infection?

One by one the pink tablets fall out of the packing machine. Then follow the white tablets next to them in the cavity. What is produced and packaged here in Freiburg, at the facility of the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer, could soften the new corona wave in the fall. At least that’s what the president of the German Society of Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine, Torsten Bauer, thinks. “We will also experience seasonal illness with this coronavirus and we will have cases again and again in the fall and winter. But the tough runs are the ones we want to break, and this drug can do it. “

Better treatment options thanks to new drugs

At its plant in Freiburg, Pfizer produces the antiviral drug Paxlovid for the world market. Six tablets a day – four pink pills with the active ingredient nirmatrelvir and two white pills with the active ingredient ritonavir – reduce the likelihood of coronavirus-related hospitalization by almost 90 percent.

Treatment options for acute corona infection today are much better than a year ago, says Rolf Hömke of the Research-Based Drug Manufacturers Association in an interview. “A year ago, we had exactly one antiviral drug that we didn’t know exactly how best to use it. We now have four drugs that fight viruses in the early stages. ‘

The pneumologist Bauer explains how these drugs work: “All viruses are like cell pirates. They have to get into the human metabolism and use all the tools available to multiply. ” Antiviral agents like Paxlovid would prevent this from happening. The big advantage of the new products is that they are easier to use. While Remdesivir, which is used for a long time, has to be infused by a doctor, Paxlovid can be taken by the patient himself as a tablet in case of infection. This of course simplifies the application, says a spokesman for the Hömke association.

Little known and rarely prescribed

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach also hopes for a Pfizer drug. The federal government secured a million doses early. So far, however, it seems to be hardly used. According to the April newspaper “Tagesspiegel”, less than 9,000 have been registered so far. prescription. The current quantities of deliveries have been requested from the Ministry of Health, and we are still waiting for an answer.

Pneumologist Bauer believes that the low number of prescriptions also has something to do with the fact that the drug is still unknown to many: “Patients need to know that this drug exists and they need to know very easily where to get it from.”

As with all viral lung diseases, it is important to apply antivirals early – i.e. in the first few days after an infection becomes apparent. But that’s still a problem, according to Bauer. GPs are responsible for prescribing Paxlovid – after individual consideration, they can decide whether treatment with an antiviral drug makes sense. However, this requires two things: First, that the patient informs his GP about his infection. On the other hand, family doctors know about current treatment options. Practical problems to be resolved before a possible new wave of infection begins in the fall. Federal Health Minister Lauterbach announced on Twitter a few days ago that “optimal use” needs to be better prepared.

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