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Taiwan expands use of oral COVID drugs

81,000 light COVID cases in home care allowed to take pills

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The use of COVID antiviral pills is to be expanded. (AP, Pfizer photo)

The use of COVID antiviral pills is to be expanded. (AP, Pfizer photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An estimated 81,000 people in home care with light COVID-19 symptoms will be allowed to use oral drugs against the coronavirus, reports said Wednesday (May 5).

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) warned the public not to buy the pills online, but to consult the official list of pharmacies, China Times reported. A total of 270,000 courses have been distributed to 57 key pharmacies, which again could supply 1,900 local pharmacies for home delivery during this week.

According to the report, Taiwan had received 370,000 courses of the drug Paxlovid, with 947 doses already used, while 468 out of 5,000 Molnupiravir courses had been used.

Paxlovid is destined for patients older than 12 and weighing more than 40 kilograms, but users of Molnupiravir must be at least 18 years of age, with treatment to start within five days of the patients falling ill, the report said.

Health authorities said the use of oral anti-COVID medicine was likely to expand as larger quantities became available and more categories of patients were allowed to take the pills. COVID cases still need to be careful about combining oral drugs with other unrelated medicines, in order to prevent potentially dangerous side effects, officials said.