HSA Approves Pfizer Covid-19 Tablet For Patients At Higher Risk Of Severe Illness

HSA Announces ‘Interim Authorisation’ Of Pfizer Tablet On 3 Feb

Singapore has approved its first oral tablet for Covid-19, more than 2 years after the pandemic started.

On Thursday (3 Feb), the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) announced that they had granted approval for Pfizer’s PAXLOVID tablet.


The pill will be used to treat patients with mild symptoms but who are at high risk of developing severe infections and even death.

HSA approves Pfizer tablet for Covid-19

According to HSA, PAXLOVID was given “interim authorisation” on 31 Jan under the Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR).

The tablet comprises 2 drugs—nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. The former is the antiviral medicine, while the latter ensures the blood level of nirmatrelvir for “antiviral efficacy”.

PAXLOVID will be used to treat adult Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms but have a high risk of worsening conditions.

Patients prescribed with PAXLOVID are to take the tablet twice per day for a period of 5 days.

Tablets reduce hospitalisation & death rates among Covid-19 patients

After reviewing available clinical data, HSA found that PAXLOVID significantly reduces the risk of hospitalisation or death.

In particular, the drug was found to reduce the number by 88.9% and 87.8% when given within 3 and 5 days from the onset of symptoms.

Lab results have also shown that PAXLOVID is “active against” infectious variants like the Delta and Omicron strains.

The side effects of consuming the tablet were described as being “generally low”. These include:

  • altered sense of taste
  • chills
  • diarrhoea
  • hypertension
  • muscle pain
  • vomiting.

Doctors are also advised to consider drug interactions before prescribing PAXLOVID as it could increase or decrease the levels of certain drugs in patients’ blood.

Nonetheless, HSA said the benefits of PAXLOVID outweigh its risks, especially for Covid-19 patients who are at high risk of suffering from severe illness.

Hope drug will reduce load in hospitals

Despite the countless medical breakthrough we’ve made to deal with Covid-19, the pandemic continues to disrupt lives around the world.

We hope PAXLOVID will prove effective in preventing Covid-19 patients from falling severely ill, and in turn, helping to reduce the load in our hospitals.

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