(NEW YORK) -- Walgreens has launched a new delivery service for the COVID-19 oral antiviral therapy Paxlovid in partnership with DoorDash and Uber to get the treatment "directly to the doorsteps of those who need it."
Walgreens on Thursday said it has more than 8,000 locations offering same-day delivery services, available to anyone who lives within 15 miles of participating stores. Walgreens said that means real access to a lot of Americans -- offering it to roughly 92% of the population.
That's the whole point of this initiative, Walgreens said -- increasing access to COVID treatments -- with "a focus on reaching those in socially vulnerable or medically underserved areas at a time when COVID-19 cases are beginning to rise again across the United States."
Paxlovid, from Pfizer, is one of the few treatments still expected to hold up against currently circulating subvariants and comes as coronavirus hospitalizations are trending upward in the elderly.
The drug stops the virus from replicating in the body and works best when taken within five days of getting symptoms. It has proven highly effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization and preventing higher-risk patients from getting even sicker.
To use Walgreens' new delivery service, eligible patients must have a Paxlovid prescription from a health care provider.
After the pharmacy has filled the prescription, and before it gets picked up, individuals can go online to select Same Day Delivery by visiting Walgreens.com/PrescriptionDelivery, using the Walgreens app or by calling their local store.
To use Same Day Rx Delivery, customers must be opted into Prescription Status Alerts, which will appear as an option if an order is before a particular store's cutoff time on a given day. Walgreens noted that certain health plans do not cover or participate in Same Day Rx Delivery, and it advised customers to check with individual health plan providers for further details. They also noted that while most prescriptions are "expected to be delivered same day, some deliveries may not be eligible for delivery due to prescription type, delivery address, holidays, weather or other delivery constraints."
"The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated health disparities and emphasized the need to address long-standing barriers, including access to treatments," Anita Patel, PharmD, vice president of pharmacy services development at Walgreens, said in a statement. "Our pharmacy teams will continue to play a trusted and essential role in helping to keep people protected from COVID-19, including getting people vaccinated, tested and treated as safely, equitably and effectively as possible."
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