Corona drug Paxlovid: Rauch wants invoices from pharmacies

Last year, during the new Covid-19 wave, there was a debate between the Minister of Health and the Chamber of Pharmacists about the corona drug Paxlovid.



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Pharmacists criticized the very small supply of the corona drug Paxlovid for serious diseases. But Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) spoke of a seemingly inexplicable loss. The chamber blamed “billing regulations.”

Pharmacies must provide evidence of Paxlovid use

The Chamber of Pharmacists said Paxlovid has been billed through health insurance companies for the last two years. The drug was also given to people who were not members of an umbrella association fund or to people presenting a private prescription from a doctor, “including tourists, civil servants, government teachers, etc.” It was emphasized that the differences between packages ordered by the federal government and delivered by the wholesaler and billing with social insurance or private prescriptions “are due to different billing methods and legal delayed delivery deadlines.”

The distribution of Paxlovid was made under the assumption that “patient care should be provided as quickly and unbureaucratically as possible.” Unfortunately, the Ministry of Health did not provide any specific guidance regarding eligibility and distribution conditions. Chamber of Pharmacists continued. The chamber “has done everything within its means to rationalize possible deviations that have occurred and will continue to do so with full transparency. This procedure was also discussed with the Ministry of Health today.”

Rauch sees inexplicable decline in corona drug Paxlovid

On the sidelines of an afternoon media event, Rauch said the debate over different billing methods was incomprehensible. The loss is “inexplicable.” There is only speculation as to what happened to him. Therefore, the financial prosecutor’s office was called. The delivered Paxlovid will become the property of the Republic by the end of January. The Minister pointed out the high price of approximately 600 euros per package and emphasized, “We paid for it.” He is also in contact with Germany, which has already gone one step further, and has applied to the prosecutor’s office.

The Ministry of Health has previously said that there were numerous investigation cases of breach of trust, fraud or embezzlement in Germany in connection with Paxlovid. In Austria, investigations are continuing against a pharmacy in Tirol. Innsbruck prosecutor’s office spokesman Hansjörg Mayr confirmed media reports to APA. An investigation is ongoing against the people responsible for the pharmacy in question on suspicion of fraud. Paxlovid is said to be available for patients without any prescription available. There are now suspicions that drugs are being “unofficially resold”. According to ORF “ZiB”, approximately 2,500 packages are said to have been misappropriated. According to the prosecutor’s office, a number of approximately 450 packages were returned, so that the outstanding amount or damage to the Republic ultimately amounted to approximately 1.5 million euros.

Fraud investigation due to use of Paxlovid in a pharmacy in Tyrol

Rauch, Minister of Health, wrote: “Today, @apokammer asked us to provide full evidence of its use. He now needs to get this data from pharmacies.”

“So far we only have invoices for Paxlovid packages distributed with a health insurance prescription. For the rest there are various explanations (private prescriptions, expired), but there is no evidence,” says Rauch. Several prosecutors in Germany are already investigating suspected illegal resale of Paxlovid. “We also have pharmacies whose orders or billings are significantly different from the national average.”

Billing through social security for Paxlovid from February

At the end of last year, the Ministry of Health finally ordered additional packages of the rare drug. The manufacturer Pfizer was able to deliver the required quantities immediately and the bottleneck was resolved before Christmas. At the time, it was said that there were a total of 18,000 packages available in slices.

Starting from February 1, billing will be carried out through social security, and after this date, Paxlovid will continue to be offered for a prescription fee, like other medicines. It is recommended for people at high risk of severe corona disease. A prerequisite is a doctor’s prescription after a positive test.

(APA/Red)

Source: Vienna

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