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Paxlovid to no longer be provided to provinces for free

The Pfizer drug Paxlovid is photographed in New York on Feb. 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Stephanie Nano) The Pfizer drug Paxlovid is photographed in New York on Feb. 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Stephanie Nano)
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The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is no longer paying for an antiviral pill used to treat COVID-19.

The PHAC said it will no longer procure Paxlovid, which is intended to be used after being diagnosed with COVID, for provinces and territories.

“The provinces and territories are responsible for determining how best to implement and manage the available supply of COVID-19 therapeutics, including Paxlovid,” a spokesperson for Health Canada said in a statement.

The spokesperson added that a significant portion of Paxlovid in the central inventory expired on Sunday, and a small amount will expire on May 31. The drug has a shelf life of 24 months.

In a statement, Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara said it’s important to ensure Manitobans have access to the prescriptions they need.

“The current supply of Paxlovid has been allocated throughout the province and is available at no cost to Manitobans with a prescription,” Asagwara said. “Manitoba is part of the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, which is currently in negotiations with the manufacturer to list Paxlovid on provincial formularies.”

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