COVID antiviral pills to be available for local patients

Merck’s antiviral COVID-19 pill, molnupiravir, has received emergency authorization from U.S. regulators. New York state is partnering with Kinney Drugs and Boulton’s Pharmacy in Watertown to distribute the antiviral treatments from Merck and Pfizer to local patients. Merck & Co./TNS

WATERTOWN — Bolton’s Pharmacy and Kinney Drugs have been selected by the state to distribute antiviral pills to treat COVID-19 patients locally.

On Tuesday, Bolton's Pharmacy announced its partnership with the state on the release of the oral antiviral treatments.

“We are excited to be able to offer this as an option to people that are in need of it,” said Bolton’s pharmacist Dr. Shawn M. Signor. “We’ve been trying to get a variety of medications the whole time during the pandemic, a variety of treatments and services, so we’re happy that we’re able to continue to offer different treatments.”

Bolton’s is unsure how much of the antiviral treatments it will receive, or a specific date it will receive them, but it will do its best to utilize its supply appropriately, Dr. Signor said.

The treatments developed by Pfizer and Merck have been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Department of Health has made it clear that supplies will be extremely limited to start. Priority will be given to those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, regardless of vaccination status, and those who are 65 and older and not fully vaccinated with at least one risk factor for severe illness.

The antivirals will come at no cost to the patients, but will need to be prescribed based on a positive COVID test within five days of the onset of symptoms.

As more information becomes available, Bolton’s Pharmacy has said it will share information on its website and Facebook page.

It remains unclear which Kinney Drugs location will be distributing the medication. A Kinney Drugs representative could not be reached Wednesday.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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