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Govt Must Move Fast On Next Generation Covid-19 Treatments

The Government must move as fast as possible to approve and order supply of promising new Covid-19 treatments, National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“Lagevrio (molnupiravir) and Paxlovid have both been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia, and regulatory bodies in the United Kingdom and the United States, but we are on the go-slow here in New Zealand.

“With Omicron now in our community and with cases likely to increase quickly, we need access to these next generation Covid-19 treatments fast.

“Paxlovid in particular is very exciting. Initial results show it significantly reduces (by 89%) hospital admissions and deaths among people with Covid-19 who are at high risk of severe illness.

“New Zealand has purchased 60,000 courses but it is not approved here yet and supply won’t arrive until April.

“We will be well into the Omicron outbreak by April and we need the option of these treatments as soon as possible.

“National’s pressure led the Government to sign advance purchase agreements for both Lagevrio (molnupiravir) and Paxlovid last year. The Government did the right thing by establishing a dedicated fund inside Pharmac to purchase these treatments in advance of them being approved, which National suggested in September.

“Now the Government needs to make sure we have supply of these treatments as soon as possible and that approval is expedited.”

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