Doctors in the Czech Republic now prescribe around 4,000 packages of antiviral drugs for covid-19 per week. “Apparently they are also used by patients who do not have a serious risk,” said Deputy Minister of Health Jakub Dvořáček.
When asked by ČTK, he added that the ministry is not planning to limit the prescription of these drugs.
According to data from the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS), there were 21,000 packages in the first half of this year, and 100,000 for the whole year last year.
“It is in connection with the ongoing increase in the number of cases and the spread of covid-19,” said Dvořáček.
The drugs lagevrio and paxlovid are recommended by doctors especially to people over 65 or chronically ill. “However, it can be seen that they are being used to a much wider extent than originally intended,” he added.
According to ÚZIS data, in the first half of last year and this year, people under the age of 65 made up almost 40 percent of those to whom doctors prescribed these drugs.
The government approved the next payment for these drugs last week. According to Dvořáček, supplies fluctuate, but there is no threat of unavailability. “There is no risk of unavailability. We have secured the supply of both of these antiviral drugs to such an extent that every Czech patient who really needs them will receive them,” he said.
Medicines for covid
- The drug lagevrio is available in the Czech Republic from the end of 2021, paxlovid from October 2022.
- In 2020, the largest General Health Insurance Company (VZP) paid 126 million crowns for medicines intended directly for covid-19, such as remdesivir.
- In 2021, when monoclonal antibodies also appeared, it was 987 million crowns, and last year, when the antivirals paxlovid and molnupiravir, or lagevrio, were added, it was 1.69 billion crowns.
- Another 987 million crowns was paid last year by the Association of Health Insurance Companies (SZP), which brings together six smaller insurance companies.
- Medicines can be prescribed by a doctor to patients who are at a higher risk of complications when infected with the coronavirus. They are mostly used by the elderly or people with other chronic diseases.
- For the better effectiveness of drugs that prevent the multiplication of the virus in the body, it is important to use them in time as soon as possible after infection or after the onset of covid-19 symptoms.
However, according to him, the drugs are not completely without risk and it is necessary to monitor their interactions with other drugs.
According to Dvořáček, prevention by vaccination against covid-19 is more suitable for most people, which experts currently recommend, similar to the flu before the season. This autumn, according to the Ministry’s data, around 330,000 people were vaccinated. After the peak of interest in the second half of October, interest gradually declines again, currently the maximum on a working day is around 2,600 administered doses.