Private doctors in Hong Kong said they do not have enough oral Covid drugs to prescribe to patients as cases in the territory climbed in the past two weeks.
It is understood that the number of Covid
patients seeking medical attention at private clinics has surged from two each day in March, to up to 9 or 10 patients each day in the past two weeks.
Speaking to a radio program on Monday morning, Chan Pui-kwong, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Doctors Union, said there has been a marked increase in Covid
patients seeking medical attention at private clinics in the last two weeks.
He said the doctors might be unable to prescribe the oral Covid
drugs to each patient as authorities have limited private doctors to getting six courses each of the two drugs - MSD's Molnupiravir and Pfizer
's Paxlovi - when they acquire the medicine from the government.
He also said some doctors would not prescribe the drugs to patients aged 60 or above, prescribing them to patients with severe symptoms instead.
Chan believed it was likely for the doctors to empty their inventory of Covid
drugs in a single day should they prescribe it to each patient aged 60 or above.
He called on patients to visit the public clinics on weekdays in order not to exhaust the private clinic’s inventory for people in need.
In response to the situation, the government announced Monday to relax the number of courses of each of the two Covid
oral drugs that private doctors can request via the dedicated online platform from six courses to 10 courses with immediate effect.
The Department of Health has issued a letter notifying private doctors of the relevant arrangement and reminding them the oral drugs requested could only be prescribed to "Eligible Persons" who are infected.