NHS England (NHSE) has recommended that community pharmacies maintain stocks for one or two courses of Covid oral antivirals Paxlovid and Lagevrio, depending on usual demand, to dispense against prescriptions immediately.

According to a notice issued in the NHS Primary Care Bulletin last week, Allied Healthcare is also increasing its holdings.

NHSE said the measures would ‘build resilience’ in the Covid antiviral supply chain, as well as help reduce waiting times for patients presenting time-sensitive prescriptions.

Molnupiravir (Lagevrio) 200mg capsules, Nirmatrelvir (Paxlovid) 150mg tablets and Ritonavir (Paxlovid) 100mg tablets can be ordered from Alliance Healthcare.

The products are supplied without charge from government stockpiles, meaning there is no financial impact if the product is held and exceeds shelf life.

There is also no single order surcharge for these products.

New research from the University of Cambridge found that the drug Molnupiravir may, in some cases, be causing a mutated form of Covid-19 to transmit and spread through the community.

The findings, published in Nature, show the importance of assessing the benefits and risks of all Covid-19 treatments.