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Government urges take up of Covid antivirals as almost 500,000 in Australian stockpile near expiry date

Health minister says Coalition allowed drugs that can prevent severe cases and hospitalisation to ‘gather dust’ in storage

Just 20,000 of the 1m Paxlovid antiviral drugs ordered by the former government have been prescribed to Covid-19 patients, leaving Australia with hundreds of thousands of drugs due to expire within months.

While the take-up of Covid-19 antiviral medicines has tripled since eligibility was expanded a fortnight ago, the federal government is urging more people to access the drugs amid concern about the shelf life of remaining treatments.

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