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Is Paxlovid readily available in Europe?

I would also like to know any further details which anyone could provide. e.g. - Does this vary by country? or What criteria need to be met in order to get Paxlovid? Positive self-administered Covid-19 test? Age requirement? Doctor's prescription?

Posted by
7710 posts

In general, throughout most European countries, Paxlovid is much more selectively used, some would say as it is intended.

You would need to test positive, at a pharmacy or doctor, then be examined by a doctor. You would need to meet minimum criteria and have severe enough symptoms to warrant it's use.

Most individuals who have been vaccinated, test positive, and have relatively mild symptoms, even if they are above a certain age or are considered "at risk", really do not need or benefit from Paxlovid. In fact it can make things worse, often resulting in a rebound infection.

If you feel you want to be prepared, I would make sure you have a decent medical history in writing and an accurate listing of all medication currently being taken, and for the last year. That way if you do get Covid, and have severe symptoms, the dactor you go to has needed information.

Somebody will invariably mention to go to your Doctor and have them prescribe it, fill it in the US, and take it with you; besides the cost impact, one would question the doctors ethics, that simply is not the way it is supposed to work.

Posted by
2904 posts

There are times that taking “what if” prescriptions makes sense. I have diverticulosis that flairs up occasionally and am allergic to some antibiotics. I travel with the antibiotics I might need, just in case.
As to the OP’s question about Paxlovid, I don’t know. When I had Covid, I had returned from France two weeks earlier. Initial reaction from emergency room was to look for a blood clot. Surprise, surprise, it was Covid that produced intense muscle pain through the rib cage; I could barely lay down or walk.

Posted by
2495 posts

We always travel with Cipro and my husband has needed it a couple of times. Our doctor who knows we travel offered us a prescription for Paxlovid last year but we passed on that. I have been on the fence as to whether or not to take it with us. My sister and my brother-in-law both had rebound cases. My sister said the rebound case was worse than the original infection. My brother-in-law wasn’t bothered by the second infection. This year I may take my doctor up on taking the scrip for Paxlovid.

Posted by
10340 posts

No, it's not prescribed easily. You would have to be in a nursing home or have severe health problems.

Example: I caught Covid in the plane to the US to visit family. Just a runny nose and cough. My DIL got me a video appointment with a nurse practitioner who screened me and issued a prescription. I dutifully isolated and took the pills. Negative at 5 days and 7. I think I would have been negative, no matter.

My French doctor said he would not have prescribed this drug for me due to adverse effects. I am in the high-risk age group but that is all, not enough to qualify. Paxlovid is just one example of differences in approach.

We have wonderful preventive care, excellent doctor and hospital care but when needed. My US doctor wanted to prescribe two meds that French doctors said were not needed. And, those weight-loss drugs are unknown. They just eat less and skip dessert, no diets. No Mediterranean Diet cookbooks in the bookstores--I've looked. Different point of view. So no, unless you are severely high risk.
Tip: wear a N95 in the plane not a surgical mask. Personal experience. Fingers crossed you'll be fine.

Posted by
3992 posts

Don't count on Paxlovid in Europe, you're on your own. Here in Europe you need to be on death's door for doctors to even consider to prescribe you medications. I caught covid for the first time here in Sweden last month and it was a terrible 3 week struggle, equally with both the disease and the Swedish healthcare system. Long story short the inertia of Swedish bureaucracy proved too formidable of a foe to get Paxlovid, even though I was medically eligible on paper. My traveling companion caught a bad case of covid while hiking in Poland with me last summer, no one in Poland had ever heard of Paxlovid.

Here's my experience - https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/sweden/experience-getting-paxlovid-in-sweden

Posted by
225 posts

We have paxlovid from our PcP that we have carried since August for traveling. Headed to Morocco later this week and may not always have access to a doctor or pharmacy. Last February we were in New Zealand and Australia for a month . On the second day after landing from the US both my husband and I tested positive. Fortunately mild cases but it was on a Friday and we could not locate a doctor or urgent care open. The pharmacies refused to issue it without a doctor's prescription. Just trying to be proactive as we seem to have covid very active again. By the way, that was our first time in 3 years of having covid.

Posted by
2112 posts

We’ve avoided Covid until now. I became ill first (with all tests negative so who knows if I had it) then hubby tested positive. His Paxlovid was free via part D and tested negative on day 5. Time will tell if he gets a rebound.
I have one of those stump-the-docs diseases so my PCP wants me to take Paxlovid with me whenever I leave the US.