China’s elite stockpiles supplies of Pfizer’s Covid-19 antiviral drug, Paxlovid, as an unprecedented Covid wave sweeps the country, depriving hospitals of resources and slowing the public’s access to the drug. are giving curry favors to business associates because they are struggling with
Several public and private hospitals told the Financial Times that the drug is widely available in the West but is either out of stock or available only to patients with severe underlying medical conditions. Paxlovid is commonly prescribed to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 cases.
Doctors said officials and business owners bought up large quantities of pills at exorbitant prices to protect their aging parents, family and friends. Analysts say the scramble surged demand for paxlovid and embodied health inequalities in the country.
“Access to Paxrovid should not be determined by people’s power or wealth,” said Jin Dongyang, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong. “This is a life-saving drug that should be available to everyone who needs it.”
China then suffers worst outbreak of coronavirus Abandon strategy abruptly of strict lockdowns, quarantines and massive testing. Chinese officials estimate he infected 250 million people within 20 days as the virus spread to its most populated areas, including Beijing, Shanghai and southern Guangdong province.
But authorities have been slow to make Paxlovid, the only foreign Covid drug approved for use in China, available to citizens. not approved A foreign Covid vaccine with advanced messenger RNA technology, whose population relies on less effective domestic jabs.
China Shanghai imported the first batch of 21,200 boxes of Pax Lovid in March as the outbreak hit. Shipments have been minimal, with China importing only a few hundred thousand boxes, far below demand, according to a government adviser based in
“We don’t want to rely on other countries for anti-Covid drugs,” the adviser said. “We need to create a market space for locally-made medicines.”
Beijing in recent months The much-hyped Lianhua QingwenTraditional herbal remedies with ingredients of honeysuckle, licorice root, and weeping forsythia, and the domestic antiviral agent azvudine, are effective treatments despite lack of clinical data.
The city of Beijing informed municipal community clinics on Monday that supplies of paxlovid for elderly patients are limited. The move suggests the drug may become more available in big cities in the coming weeks.
However, multiple public hospitals in Beijing and Shanghai, where Pax Rovid is covered by state health insurance, said the pill would be reserved for patients with significant underlying medical conditions.
“Our Pax Rovid serves patients with end-stage cancer and renal failure, and we have a lot of patients,” said a doctor at the state-run Peking Union Medical College Hospital. “There is nothing left for mildly ill patients.”
Some upscale private hospitals sell Paxlovid for RMB 8,300 ($1,200) per box for wealthy patients, compared with $530, which the U.S. government agreed to pay for each five courses of administration in April. can be obtained. An official at Beijing’s Oasis International Hospital said he sold out of the 300-box inventory this month within 24 hours.
The official added that there is no timeline for the next shipment.
In the rest of the country, especially in poorly-equipped rural areas, the chances of getting the drug are even slimmer given the low import volumes. study A study co-funded by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that 160 million older adults with underlying medical conditions should have access to antiviral drugs such as Paxlovid to effectively reduce Covid-related deaths. It turns out that there is about 1 minute.
Due to its limited supply, Pax Lobid has become a popular gift among well-connected people in China. Officials at a distribution hospital in Beijing said a “significant” number of the prescribed tablets were eventually purchased by healthy people.
“It’s more coveted than Moutai,” the official said. Premium Chinese Liquor Brand This is one of the preferred business gifts in China.
In Beijing, a business owner said this month he received two boxes of Pax Lovid as a gift from a friend who obtained the drug from a hospital department targeting high-ranking officials.
However, he decided not to keep it. “I’m going to give this medicine as a gift to someone in need,” he said.