COVID-19 antiviral available on the PBS


Wednesday, 02 March, 2022

COVID-19 antiviral available on the PBS

Australians at risk of progressing to severe Covid-19 disease1 will now be eligible to access an oral antiviral treatment taken over five days through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).2

Lagevrio (molnupiravir) has been listed on the PBS from 1 March 2022 for eligible adults who test positive for COVID-19 and are at risk of developing severe disease requiring hospitalisation.2

The subsidy will be available to certain people who, due to one or a combination of factors such as an existing medical condition, advancing age and other factors, and are deemed at risk of severe disease, have not been hospitalised and do not require oxygen supplementation for confirmed COVID-19.2

Patients eligible to access Lagevrio through the PBS include:2

  • patients 65 years or older with two additional high-risk factors* for developing severe disease
  • patients 75 years or older with one additional high-risk factor* for developing severe disease
  • moderately to severely immunocompromised people irrespective of vaccination status
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years or older with two additional high-risk factors* for developing severe disease.
     

Dr Paul Griffin, Infectious Disease Physician and Microbiologist at Mater Health, Brisbane, said, “Access to an oral treatment through the PBS will allow many at-risk people to be treated at home, which is a win-win-win for these patients, the community and our hospital system.”

“Taken twice daily for five days, Lagevrio is likely to play an important role in treating eligible, at-risk patients diagnosed with COVID-19,” he said.

A positive COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result or a verified rapid antigen test (RAT) result is required. Additionally, eligible adults will need to have at least one sign or symptom attributable to COVID-19, and not require oxygen or hospitalisation at the time of prescribing.4

Lagevrio was provisionally registered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration on 18 January 2022.1 Since February, the treatment has been distributed through the National Medical Stockpile, with priority access provided to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and residential aged care facilities.

In clinical trials, the most common adverse events associated with Lagevrio treatment were diarrhoea, nausea and dizziness.

1. Australian Government. Department of Health. Advice for groups at greater risk. https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/advice-for-groups-at-risk
2. Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. https://www.pbs.gov.au/info/news/2022/02/pbac-recommendation-for-molnupiravir-Lagevrio-february
3. Australian Government Department of Health, Therapeutic Goods Administration. TGA provisionally approves two oral Covid-19 treatments, molnupiravir (Lagevrio) and nirmatrelvir + ritonavir (PAXLOVID). https://www.tga.gov.au/media-release/tga-provisionally-approves-two-oral-Covid-19-treatments-molnupiravir-Lagevrio-and-nirmatrelvir-ritonavir-paxlovid
4. Lagevrio Product Information. www.ebs.tga.gov.au/ebs/picmi/picmirepository.nsf/pdf?OpenAgent&id=CP-2022-PI-01047-1&d=20220221172310101

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/francescoridolfi.com

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