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Elderly Nursing Home Residents Denied Life-Saving COVID Treatment, Study Finds

Inadequate use of antiviral medication led to avoidable mortality, with Paxlovid underutilized

Elderly and frail nursing home residents, who could have significantly benefited from antiviral treatments for COVID-19, received inadequate amounts of the medication following their coronavirus infections, even when Pfizer Inc’s Paxlovid pill was readily available.

The prescribing data study was conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester and Harvard University, who analyzed data reported to Medicare by nursing homes under specific pandemic requirements.

In a key clinical trial, Paxlovid showed to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% (within three days of symptom onset) and 88% (within five days of symptom onset) compared to placebo. 

“Some clinicians might have been unfamiliar with antiviral treatments during the study period, while reports of COVID rebound might have deterred patients,” said the Washington Post while citing the research. 

A stack of pills is displayed on a screen with the Pfizer logo in the background. Pfizer’s Inc. Paxlovid pill shows reduced risk of hospitalization or death by 89%. NIKOS PEKIARIDIS/SOPA IMAGES/LIGHTROCKET VIA GETTY IMAGES.

Findings revealed that from May 2021 to December 2022, only about 25% of nursing home residents with COVID-19 were prescribed any antiviral medication.

Shockingly, 40% of nursing homes reported not having any residents who received antiviral medications.

The research suggested that nursing homes could have done a better job administering treatments to patients, especially after the wide availability of Paxlovid from Q2 2022.

“The massive underuse of Paxlovid in nursing homes likely led to a significant amount of avoidable mortality,” said Harvard professor Michael Barnett 

Paxlovid, approved by the FDA in December 2021, was shown in key clinical trials to reduce the risk of death and hospitalization by 88% for those with the highest risk factors.

Facilities with an affiliated geriatrician were better at administering antivirals than those without, suggesting a potential knowledge gap. Non-profit organizations also performed better than for-profit ones, and the treatment rate was lower for residents on Medicaid and non-White residents.

Price Action: PFE shares are up 1.03% at $36.43 on the last check Friday.

© 2023 Zenger Zenger News does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

Produced in association with Benzinga

Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager

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