The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee has expanded the eligibility criteria for COVID-19 oral antiviral treatments, Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir and ritonavir) and molnupiravir (Lagevrio) effective from 11 July 2022.
It is important that primary care providers familiarise themselves with the updated criteria and pre-identify potential patients before they test positive for COVID-19 so medication options can be explored and included in their care plan to expediate treatment within that critical 5-day window from symptom onset (noting those over 70 years may commence treatment while asymptomatic following a positive test).
This decision is in response to the latest evidence on the effectiveness and safety of the medicines, the rate of uptake since they were made available on the PBS and the changing epidemiology of the virus.
Eligibility has been broadened to include people who have chronic respiratory issues due to conditions such as COPD, moderate or severe asthma and there is also greater access for adults living with disability who have multiple medical conditions.
Not being vaccinated has been removed as a risk factor from the criteria for prescription under the PBS.
The new eligibility includes updated age limits and risk factors summarised below.