At Last, Good News About the Pandemic!

Last week pharmaceutical company Merck announced that they have filed for FDA emergency use authorization for their oral COVID -19 pill molnupiravir.   It is a five day treatment, potentially shorter if it is used prophylactically. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb,, author of the book Uncontrolled Spread Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How to Defeat the Next Pandemic and Pfizer board member has called the drug a “ a profound game changer”, especially for the unvaccinated. We don’t know when and how widely available it will be. More importantly (for the majority of us) we don’t know how much it will cost.

Prevent Medical Error (PME)


Prevent Medical Error (PME) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. As part of our mission to advance best practices that mitigate medical errors, we will be posting and/or reposting information and links to help you, your family and your providers make the best decisions during the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease that it causes, COVID-19.

Please note that none of the information on this site is a substitute for CDC  and WHO information and/or instructions from your doctor or pharmacist.

What is and FDA Authorized Generic Drug?

An FDA authorized generic drug is the exact same as an approved brand name drug except it has a different label and is usually lower in price than than the brand name drug. Authorized generics may be marketed by the brand name drug company or by another company that has the permission of the brand name drug company. While they do have the manpower to verify whether or not they are still being manufactured and if not, when manufacturing ceased, the FDA has a list of authorized generic drugs on their website. You can also ask your pharmacist whether or not there is an authorized generic version of your medicine.

Tips for Finding A COVID-19 Vaccine:

On February 27th, 2021 the FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) of Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen division COVID-19 vaccine in US citizens who are 18 or older.  Unlike Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, the good news for those who hate needles is that J&J’s vaccine only requires one dose.

In February, Pfizer announced that as efficiencies increase, they aim to almost halve the amount of time it takes to produce a batch of COVID-19 vaccine from 110 days to an average 60 days.  According to MSN, while the US expects to have enough COVID-19 vaccines for every adult in May or sooner, expectations may collide with the real world realities of ice storms, hurricanes and other delays.  

Despite the fact that production and distribution of the COVID -19 vaccines continues to ramp up, millions of people who want to get vaccinated are still scrambling to get in line.  According to the Washington Post, although they are at the highest risk of death from the coronavirus, almost half of all seniors have yet to receive their first vaccine shot.  To combat this, the White House Task Force has partnered with health insurers. The companies will reach out to seniors in low income areas to help get them vaccinated. This may be more difficult than it seems because states have different criteria on who is first in line for the shot and how to sign up.

The PBS NewsHour recently published some tips for finding a COVID vaccine.  Here are some excerpts:

Before you call or go online to schedule an appointment:

Check in with your doctor’s office and pharmacist about your health history and whether or not you’ve had an allergic reaction to a vaccine, or other injectable medication in the past that would contraindicate or delay your getting vaccinated.

Contact your insurer, write down the date time that you called and the name of the insurance company representative that you spoke with. Ask them if there are any out-of-pocket costs, co-payments or fees for care.

Have the following information at hand when you call or go online to schedule your appointment and bring it with you when you get your vaccine:

Get an updated summary and a list of medications and supplements that you take and any contraindications or other reactions.  

If you have a pre-existing condition that makes getting a vaccine a priority, ask your doctor if you need a note to verify that you qualify for early vaccination. 

Have your insurance information (including a copy of your insurance card) ready. Contact your insurer, write down the date time that you called and the name of the insurance company representative that you spoke with. Ask them if there are any out-of-pocket costs, co-payments or fees for care.

If you are able, help someone else out. We are all in this together. Things will get back to a new normal faster if we come together and help each other. 


Flattening the curve will save lives

A flattened curve means that SARS-CoV-2 is spreading slowly and staggering the rate of people who develop COVID-19. This buys first responders, doctors, and pharmacists time to mobilize and best utilize scarce resources to treat people and save lives.

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