Online hospitals ready prescriptions for fever drugs
Local online hospitals are making preparations for prescriptions of fever medicines through digital channels.
The joint prevention and control working group of the State Council, China's Cabinet, has allowed online hospitals to prescribe relevant medicines to those under home quarantine and distribute the drugs through delivery service.
Fosun Pharma said on Wednesday it's working with multiple digital healthcare providers to enhance the accessibility of antiviral treatment tablet Azvudine.
In other parts of the country, it has also partnered with Sinopharm Group and CR Pharma to ensure commercial supply at medical institutions.
Azvudine was given conditional approval to treat COVID-infected adults with mild symptoms in July and Fosun Pharma gained exclusive rights to commercialize the medicine.
The latest notice from the State Council also encourages Internet hospitals to deliver medicines to COVID-19 cases via eligible third parties.
The move aims at offering convenient consultation and medical guidance to relieve the pressure at fever clinics.
Pharmacists and physicians offering virtual services should also guide those with severe symptoms or those not suitable for remote diagnosis to visit offline hospitals, it added.
Shanghai-headquartered digital healthcare provider 1 Drugstore on Tuesday night halted the sales of Pfizer's Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir and ritonavir tablets) after putting the drug on sale for a brief while.
According to a Hongxing News report on Wednesday, a source close to Pfizer said that Paxlovid, priced at 2,300 yuan (US$331) for a box, is strictly for hospital prescription use.
It reiterated that patients should strictly follow doctors' instructions.
1 Drugstore said it has limited supplies of Paxlovid without providing details about follow-up plans.
Medical experts warned against potential risks for people unknowingly purchasing these medicines through retail channels.
"Prescription drugs are not for preventative purposes and it's not appropriate for healthy people to purchase these kinds of drugs in advance," according to Chang Rongshan, a virologist from Shantou University.