It's about time
A month ago, I complained that people were dying because pharmacists were not allowed to prescribe Paxlovid:
In my case, I got the prescription after about a 15 second consultation with a person I’d never met over a telemedicine zoom meeting. Couldn’t a pharmacist do that? Apparently not:
Even if you qualify, someone will still have to prescribe the drug, which means the pharmacy you get tested at will need to have a clinic, like CVS’ MinuteClinic, where a professional can screen, diagnose and prescribe. Only 10% of CVS drugstores and even fewer Walgreens have clinicians on site.
I understand that pharmacists might make a few more errors in their 15 seconds of questioning than the telemedicine operator I spoke with. But 350 people are dying every day. Is the FDA looking at this on a cost/benefit basis?
Today, I read that the federal government has finally seen the light:
Pharmacists can prescribe the leading COVID-19 pill directly to patients under a new U.S. policy announced Wednesday that’s intended to expand use of Pfizer’s drug Paxlovid.
The Food and Drug Administration said pharmacists can begin screening patients to see if they are eligible for Paxlovid and then prescribe the medication, which has been shown to curb the worst effects of COVID-19. Previously only physicians could prescribe the antiviral drug.
The announcement comes as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising again, though they remain near their lowest levels since the coronavirus outbreak began in 2020.
Biden administration officials have expressed frustration that several hundred Americans continue to die of COVID-19 daily, despite the availability of vaccines and treatments.
It’s important that we don’t blindly rely on experts, and instead hold their feet to the fire when they are not taking costs and benefits into account in policymaking. Too often, bureaucrats follow rigid rules and do not pay sufficient attention to the broader welfare of society. The US is still losing more than 300 people a day to Covid, many of them needlessly.
When a free person makes a mistake, that person suffers. When a bureaucrat makes a mistake, millions of people may suffer.