CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Antiviral pills for COVID-19 are a new weapon to fight the virus and prevent severe symptoms. The treatments are arriving at a time when hospitalizations are spiking, though supply is limited.
FOX43 Reveals where you can find antiviral pills for COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
The medications are similar to antibiotics and require a prescription from a doctor. They fight the virus to keep people out of hospitals without relying on your immune system. This treatment could be a pandemic game-changer. Supplies are scarce, but access is improving.
There are 74 locations in South Central Pennsylvania that are carrying the pills, nearly triple the amount from six weeks ago. The pills must be started as soon as possible, within five days of the start of symptoms.
Chambers’ Apothecary in Chambersburg, Franklin County is one of the pharmacies in the region to receive the treatment.
The pharmacy initially received 100 courses of Pfizer’s drug, Paxlovid, and 220 courses of Merck’s pill, molnupiravir. Pharmacists continue to have conversations with doctors in the area about the medications and how to prescribe them.
“It’s been very, very difficult to get them in,” said Garrett Sipes, pharmacist at Chambers’ Apothecary. “There are not too many pharmacies in the area that have them available and up and running, so yeah we’re one of few.”
FOX43 Reveals that most of the pharmacies to receive shipments of antiviral pills for COVID-19 belong to Walgreens, Rite Aid, or Weis Markets. Smaller, local pharmacies have been anxiously watching their inboxes for an update on when they could start dispensing the treatment in their communities.
“It is frustrating. I do understand that they do have a larger reach. Nationally they do have more locations, but we are in the trenches here because we’re in a lot of underserved areas,” said Melissa Koehler, pharmacy manager and partner at Hillcrest Pharmacy & Compounding of Lancaster in Columbia, Lancaster County.
Pharmacists at Hillcrest Pharmacy have seen a surge in demand for COVID-19 tests and they have administered more than 16,000 vaccine doses. After a long wait, the pharmacy now has 80 courses of Merck's drug available.
In high-risk patients, both Pfizer’s pill and Merck’s drug were shown to reduce the chances of hospitalization or death from the virus.
At pharmacies that have received this treatment, rollout has been slow. Only certain patients are eligible and both treatments require taking an intimidating number of pills. Patients must take 40 capsules for molnupiravir and 30 pills for Paxlovid over the course of five days.
Since Chambers’ Apothecary received their first shipment of the pills, 81 patients have walked away with this potentially lifesaving medication.
“Every single day you kind of think, ‘Man this is hard, hard work,’ but just those small positive rewarding moments are great. I had a patient last night I called just to let him know that his prescription was here for the antivirals and he said ‘Thank you for taking care of Chambersburg,’” Sipes said. “And that makes it so much more worth it at the end.”
Here are the pharmacy locations carrying the pills in South Central Pennsylvania.
5675 York Road in New Oxford
30 Primrose Lane in New Oxford
231 West Street in Gettysburg
4965 Carlisle Pike in Mechanicsburg
Weis Markets Inc.
1075 West King Street in Shippensburg
Pennsylvania RSS Warehouse
420 Salem Church Road in Mechanicsburg
330 Cumberland Parkway in Mechanicsburg
4525 Valley Road in Enola
1195 Lowther Road in Camp Hill
2150 Bumble Bee Hollow Rd in Mechanicsburg
Robert T. Henry Pharmacy
54 East King Street in Shippensburg
3200 Market Street in Camp Hill
6416 Carlisle Pike Suite 2000 in Mechanicsburg
351 E High Street in Carlisle
1814 Spring Road in Carlisle
105 Old York Road in New Cumberland
1137 Market Street in Lemoyne
4999 Jonestown Road in Harrisburg
Weis Markets Inc.
1130 Mae Street in Hummelstown
2103 N. Third Street in Harrisburg
4300 Linglestown Road in Harrisburg
4299 Union Deposit Road in Harrisburg
3885 Union Deposit Road in Harrisburg
475 W. Governor Road, Suite 2 in Hershey
278 Lincoln Way E. in Chambersburg
Keystone Community Health Services
111 Chambers Hill Drive, Suite 102 in Chambersburg
Park Avenue Pharmacy
220 Park Avenue in Chambersburg
1056 Wayne Avenue in Chambersburg
415 East Queen Street in Chambersburg
Norland Avenue Pharmacy
12 St. Paul Drive Suite 105 in Chambersburg
Weis Markets Inc.
331 N. Reading Road in Ephrata
1262 Lititz Pike in Lancaster
825A East Chestnut Street in Lancaster
1550 Columbia Avenue in Lancaster
3985 Columbia Avenue Unit 2 in Columbia
1400 Stony Battery Road in Lancaster
1603 Lincoln Highway East in Lancaster
1629 S. Market Street in Elizabethtown
1700-A Fruitville Pike in Lancaster
315 West Fourth Street in Quarryville
334 Main Street in Denver
441 West Main Street in Mount Joy
2600 Willow St. Pike North in Willow Street
Union Community Care
304 North Water Street in Lancaster
740 S. Broad Street in Lititz
100 East Main Street in Lititz
5360 Lincoln Highway Suite 2 in Gap
1204 Millersville Pike in Lancaster
2000 Crossings Blvd. in Lancaster
1643 Manheim Pike in Lancaster
2 Cumberland Street in Lebanon
980 East Main Street in Palmyra
1651 E Cumberland Street in Lebanon
800 S. 12the Street in Lebanon
901 E Main Street in Palmyra
Weis Markets Inc.
224 N. Logan Blvd in Burnham
4521 William Penn Highway in Mifflintown
316 Walnut Street in Newport
115 Leaders Heights Road in York
3180 Carlisle Road in Dover
1424 Baltimore Street in Hanover
3205 Cape Horn Road in Red Lion
2067 Route 116 in Spring Grove
2400 E Market Street in York
2065 Springwood Road in York
3300 East Market Street in York
693 Lombard Road in Red Lion
2160 White Street in York
301 Eisenhower Drive in Hanover
Here are the hospital locations carrying the pills in South Central Pennsylvania.
Primary Health Network in Lewistown, Mifflin County has received 60 courses of Merck’s molnupiravir.
Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, Lancaster County has received 552 courses of Evusheld, a monoclonal antibody drug manufactured by AstraZeneca.
Penn State Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Dauphin County has received 288 courses of Evusheld.
WellSpan York Hospital in York, York County has received 216 courses of Evusheld.
If you do not see a location near you listed above, this link will direct you to a federal data tracker that shows every location in the U.S. that is carrying antiviral pills for COVID-19.
Potential side effects of Merck’s molnupiravir include diarrhea, nausea and dizziness. Possible side effects for Pfizer’s Paxlovid include altered sense of taste, diarrhea, high blood pressure and muscle aches. Paxlovid may be risky with other medications and can cause harmful reactions. The medications include:
o Pethidine, piroxicam, propoxyphene
o Amiodarone, dronedarone, flecainide, propafenone, quinidine
o Lurasidone, pimozide, clozapine
o Dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, methylergonovine
o Lovastatin, simvastatin
o Sildenafil (Revatio®) for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)
o Triazolam, oral midazolam
o Carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin
o St. John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum)
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