Pharmacies in Metro Atlanta see variable demand for COVID-19 antiviral drugs

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) – The federal government this week announced plans to make COVID-19 antiviral drugs available in more locations across the country.

There are currently about 20,000 sites nationwide offering free pills, but by allowing pharmacies to order the drugs directly from the federal government, the White House hopes to increase that number.

Metro Atlanta pharmacies are experiencing varying levels of demand.

“We got more than we can use,” said Derek Chapman, third-generation owner of Chapman Drug Company in Hapeville.

He said he had only dispensed five or six prescriptions in the last three or four months. Its shelves are stocked with Pfzier’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Molnupiravir. Deliveries keep coming in and boxes are piling up.

“Hopefully there will be a mechanism to return them or send them somewhere to use them,” Chapman said. “It doesn’t make sense for them to keep sending them here.”

Chapman said the low demand he sees may be due to several different reasons.

“I think part of it is because it’s not that necessary, honestly because we’re more vaccinated, the omicron variant is gone, the other part is I think the system is slightly broken,” did he declare. “You have to go to the doctor to get the prescription called at a certain pharmacy, if we could bypass that process, I know some states do pharmacist testing and treatment.”

There are 2,200 test-to-treat sites across the country where people can get tested for COVID and receive the oral antiviral pills at the same location.

Dunwoody’s Pharmacy stays busier with antivarls.

“It’s increased a lot in the last two weeks,” said pharmacist JoAnn Filipov. “We see a lot of prescriptions coming from urgent care in areas or from people who have telehealth.”

Filipov said he dispensed nearly 30 prescriptions for Paxlovid mostly in about two months.

She said: ‘We spent about the first week reaching out to everyone we knew like local providers, primary health doctors, emergency care, letting them know we have this in stock and I think that’s what made the difference.

Find a pharmacy with COVID antiviral drugs by clicking here.

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