- PAXLOVID™ (nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets) will be available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to people between 60-69 years of age with mild to moderate COVID-19 with one additional risk factor from 1 April 2023.
- Wider eligibility criteria mean many more Australians most at risk of severe disease may be able to access PBS-subsidised PAXLOVID if they test positive for COVID-19.
- PAXLOVID is the first oral treatment of its kind; it includes nirmatrelvir, a 3CL (or main) protease inhibitor that was specifically designed to combat SARS-CoV-2.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 30 MARCH 2023 – From 1 April 2023, the eligibility criteria for access to PAXLOVID™ (nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets) on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will be expanded to include people between 60-69 years of age with mild to moderate COVID-19 with one additional risk factor for developing severe disease.
PAXLOVID is the one COVID-19 oral anti-viral medicine to receive this expanded PBS eligibility criteria.
Pfizer Australia and New Zealand Medical Director, Dr Krishan Thiru, said: “As winter approaches, we anticipate a heightened impact of COVID-19 in the community, as has occurred in the previous three years. This widening of PBS eligibility criteria means many more Australians most at risk of severe disease may be able to access PAXLOVID through the PBS if they test positive for COVID-19, and take treatment at home.”
Professor Robert Booy, Infectious Diseases Specialist, University of Sydney, encouraged the community to remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19.
“Vaccination remains the most effective way to help protect against COVID-19, and staying up to date with boosters is a first line of defence. Those at higher risk of severe COVID-19 should talk to their GP even before they test positive to COVID, to discuss if anti-viral medicines are right for them.” Professor Booy said.
PAXLOVID is now available on the PBS for those with mild to moderate COVID-19 confirmed by a PCR or a RAT test who meet the following criteria:
- All people 70 years of age or older;
- [From April 1, 2023] People between 60 to 69 years, with one additional risk factor for developing severe disease;
- People 50 years of age or older, with two additional risk factors for developing severe disease;
- People 30 years of age or older, identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, with one risk factor for developing severe disease;
- People 18 years of age or older, who are moderately to severely immunocompromised;
- People 18 years of age or older who have been previously hospitalised from COVID-19 disease.
PAXLOVID is a prescription only oral medicine taken twice-daily for five days. It should be taken as soon as possible after a diagnosis of COVID-19, and within five days of symptoms appearing.
The Australian Government recommends those at higher risk who experience COVID-19 symptoms or test positive, should seek advice from their GP or call HealthDirect’s helpline (1800 022 222) to find out if they are eligible for anti-viral medicines. 3