Michigan receives first shipment of COVID pill treatment for limited use

Oral treatment available under specific criteria

This image provided by Pfizer in October 2021 shows the company's COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. U.S. health regulators on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 authorized the first pill against COVID-19, a Pfizer drug that Americans will be able to take at home to head off the worst effects of the virus. (Pfizer via AP) (Uncredited, Pfizer)

Michigan health officials say the state has received its first shipment of newly authorized COVID-19 pill treatments, but it’ll only be prescribed in certain situations due to limited supply.

Michigan has received the two FDA authorized oral treatments, paxlovid and molnupiravir, which are designed for the outpatient treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19. Both medications may only be prescribed for a patient by physicians, advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants.

When administered to non-hospitalized patients within five days of symptom onset, these antivirals may reduce symptoms and the risk of hospitalizations and emergency room visits associated with the virus.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has developed eligibility criteria and prescribing requirements for the antivirals. You can read about it right here.

“The authorization of these new medications provides another important tool to help fight the virus,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “Due to limited availability of these antivirals, health care providers will need to determine the best course of treatment for their patients based on eligibility criteria. We ask Michiganders to be patient as providers will prioritize people at highest risk for developing serious illness from the virus. We are committed to distributing these pills equitably across the state, and access will increase as Michigan receives more allocations from the federal government.”

Previous news: Pfizer says COVID-19 pill cut hospital, death risk by 90%

MDHHS continues to strongly recommend getting vaccinated and boosted for the best protection against the virus.

“It’s important to remember these drugs are not a substitution for protecting yourself by getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in public places,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Getting vaccinated continues to be the best protection against severe illness and hospitalization, and we urge all Michiganders over age 5 to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Continue to wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth, test and social distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, avoid large gatherings and get vaccinated and boosted if you haven’t already.”

Related: EXPLAINER: New easy-to-use COVID-19 pills come with a catch

Additional information on oral antiviral medications and monoclonal antibody therapy, including priority eligibility criteria based on MDHHS scare resource allocation principles is available at Michigan.gov/COVIDTherapy.

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.