Gem State Roundup

Those new COVID-19 pills are coming to Idaho. They’re in very, very short supply.

By: - January 11, 2022 4:15 am

The World Health Organization classified the new COVID-19 variant as a “variant of concern” due to its high mutation and transmission rate. The new strain is called “omicron.” (Getty Images)

Public health agencies notified health care providers last week that oral antiviral medications — Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s molnupiravir — are shipping to Idaho.

But only eight pharmacies in Idaho will be stocking the pills, as supplies remain low.

Public health officials and medical experts stress that vaccines, high-quality masks and other public health recommendations lower the risk of getting sick with COVID-19 in the first place.

The Food and Drug Administration last month issued emergency use authorizations for the two antiviral medications. They can be used to treat COVID-19 in the first few days of symptoms, before a person needs to be hospitalized.

As with increasingly scarce monoclonal antibody treatments, they are now limited to use in people most at risk of hospitalization or death.

“The oral antivirals are in extremely limited supply,” the public health alert said. Idaho state and local health agencies are coordinating the distribution of the lifesaving resource to certain pharmacies.

The health alert said clinicians should call the pharmacies before prescribing the medication, to make sure the pharmacy still has enough supply to fill that prescription.

Here are the pharmacies that are stocking the medications, as of early January. These drugs are not available to the general public. They must be prescribed by a clinician, after a person tests positive for COVID-19 and meets certain eligibility criteria. The drugs cannot be given to people with certain health conditions or who take certain medications.

  • Safeway, 121 W. Neider Ave., Coeur d’Alene
  • Sav-On, 1024 21st St., Lewiston
  • Sav-On, 715 12th Ave. S., Nampa
  • Sav-On, 909 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Boise
  • Walmart, 7319 W. State St., Boise
  • Walmart, 252 Cheney Drive W., Twin Falls
  • Sav-On, 330 E. Benton St., Pocatello
  • Sav-On, 590 E. 17th St., Idaho Falls

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Audrey Dutton
Audrey Dutton

Audrey Dutton, senior investigative reporter, joined the Idaho Capital Sun after 10 years at the Idaho Statesman. Her favorite topics to cover include health care, business, consumer protection issues and white collar crime. Dutton hails from Twin Falls. She attended college at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York City. Before coming home to Idaho, Dutton worked as a journalist in Minnesota, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Dutton's work has earned dozens of state, regional and national awards for investigative reporting, health care and business reporting, data visualization and more.