COVID-19 antiviral Access Criteria assessment tool

Media release Medicines COVID-19

Pharmac has released an online tool to help clinicians identify who’s eligible for funded COVID-19 antiviral treatments. Three antivirals are now available to New Zealanders with a streamlined and widened access criteria announced last month.

“With only a few clicks, doctors and the public alike will be able to see if they qualify for the funded treatments,” says Pharmac’s Chief Medical Officer David Hughes.

“We want to see every Kiwi who is eligible for funded antivirals make use of these treatments. They reduce the risk of severe illness, which also takes pressure off our health system due to COVID-19.”

“Since the arrival of Paxlovid and molnupiravir, we’ve worked with our COVID-19 Treatments Advisory Group on the best way to target the medicines to ensure the treatments are supporting the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable. With the feedback in mind, in late April we made the decision to streamline the access criteria for all three of the antivirals, making it easier for clinicians to decide which treatment is right for their patient.”

“With more antiviral treatments becoming available, we saw an opportunity to widen access to many more New Zealanders who need these treatments most. We’ve decreased the number of factors people must meet to get access and enabled direct access for more at-risk groups, including people with Down syndrome and sickle cell disease. We will continue to review the access criteria and update the access tool to reflect any changes.”

“With winter setting in next week and the mix of colds, flu and COVID-19 present in the community, we want to help practitioners encourage communities to take the precautions that are available to them.”

“One extra step everyone can take to keep well this winter is getting their influenza vaccination. We recently widened access for the funded flu vaccine, to an estimated additional 39,000 New Zealanders. The majority of vaccine stock is distributed around the motu, ready and waiting to be used as our extra layer of protection.”

Find out if you are eligible for a funded flu jab(external link)