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Changes to PBS eligibility criteria for COVID antivirals

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee has recommended changes to the PBS eligibility criteria for both molnupiravir (Lagevrio®), and nirmatrelvir and ritonavir (Paxlovid®) effective Monday, 11 July 2022.

This decision is in response to the latest evidence on the effectiveness and safety of the medicines, the rate of uptake since they were made available on the PBS and the changing epidemiology of the virus.

Eligibility has been broadened to include people who have chronic respiratory issues due to conditions such as COPD, moderate or severe asthma and there is also greater access for adults living with disability who have multiple medical conditions.

Not being vaccinated has been removed as a risk factor from the criteria for prescription under the PBS.

The new eligibility includes updated age limits and risk factors summarised below. Treatment is now recommended if commenced within five days of symptoms for the following groups:

  • People 50 years of age or older, with two additional risk factors for developing severe disease;
  • People 30 years of age or older, identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, with two additional risk factors for developing severe disease;
  • People 18 years of age or older, with moderate to severe immunocompromise; and
  • People 70 years of age or older (including asymptomatic cases).

More information, including information targeting consumers, is available at https://www.health.gov.au/oral-treatments.

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