Walmart, Sam’s Club locations to dispense COVID-19 antiviral medications, may reduce risk of hospitalization

Coronavirus

(WFRV) – Select Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies across the country will be distributing COVID-19 antiviral medications authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to a release, this week, select Walmart and Sam’s Club locations began receiving and dispensing Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, two COVID-19 antiviral medications that help with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms and can help reduce the risk of hospitalization.  

What is Molnupiravir? Who is eligible to receive the medication?

FILE – This undated photo provided by Merck & Co. shows their new antiviral medication molnupiravir. U.S. regulators have authorized a second pill against COVID-19, an antiviral drug from Merck that may help blunt the wave of infections driven by the omicron variant. The Food and Drug Administration granted the drug emergency use Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021, for adults with early COVID-19 who face the highest risks of hospitalization.(Merck & Co. via AP, File)

According to the FDA, Molnupiravir is a nucleoside analogue that works by introducing errors into the SARS-CoV-2 virus’ genetic code, which prevents the virus from further replicating. 

Molnupiravir is available by prescription only and was authorized for emergency use for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults ages 18 years of age and up who:

  • Test positive for COVID-19
  • Are at high-risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death
  • Alternative COVID-19 treatment options authorized by FDA are not accessible or clinically appropriate

Molnupiravir is not authorized to be used in the following ways:

  • Molnupiravir is not authorized for initiation of treatment in patients requiring hospitalization due to COVID-19.6
  • Molnupiravir is not authorized for use for longer than five consecutive days.
  • Molnupiravir is not authorized for use as pre-exposure or as post-exposure prophylaxis for prevention of COVID-19.

For more information on Molnupiravir, click here.

What is Paxlovid? Who is eligible to receive the medication?

This image provided by Pfizer in October 2021 shows the company’s COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. Newly infected COVID-19 patients have two new treatment options that can be taken at home. But that convenience comes with a catch: The pills have to be taken as soon as possible once symptoms appear. (Pfizer via AP)

According to the FDA, Paxlovid is made up of nirmatrelvir, which inhibits a SARS-CoV-2 protein to stop the virus from replicating, and ritonavir, which slows down nirmatrelvir’s breakdown to help it remain in the body for a longer period at higher concentrations. 

Paxlovid is available by prescription only and was authorized for emergency use for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older who:

  • Test positive for COVID-19
  • Are at high-risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death

Paxlovid is not authorized to be used in the following ways:

  • Paxlovid is not authorized for initiation of treatment in patients requiring hospitalization due to severe or critical COVID-19.6
  • Paxlovid is not authorized for use as pre-exposure or as post-exposure prophylaxis for prevention of COVID-19
  • Paxlovid is not authorized for use for longer than 5 consecutive days.

For more information on Paxlovid, click here.

Both Paxlovid and Molnupiravir are now being offered to eligible customers with valid prescriptions at select Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies nationwide. Those eligible to receive the medications can ask their provider to send their prescription electronically to a Walmart or Sam’s Club pharmacy that has the medication in stock. 

Because these treatments are for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, officials say the medications will be distributed through curbside pickup or drive-thru only.

“We are committed to working with our state and federal partners to provide access to new treatment options like authorized COVID-19 antiviral medications, as they become available,” shared Kevin Host, senior vice president of pharmacy. “This medication offers customers the option to recover at home and helps reduce the burden on our hospitals and communities.”

While initial medication supply is limited, Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies say they hope to expand treatment access nationwide soon. Customers can find out if the store or club near them is carrying the COVID-19 antiviral medications here.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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