What We’re Reading: Pfizer Vaccine 95% Effective; At-home COVID-19 Test Approved; Amazon Launches Online Pharmacy

November 18, 2020
AJMC Staff

Final data released overnight show Pfizer’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine is 95% effective; the first at-home COVID-19 test receives a regulatory go-ahead; Amazon launches its first digital drugstore.

Pfizer to Soon Seek Vaccine Approval

Citing that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine it developed with BioNTech is as effective as those for shingles and measles, reports The Wall Street Journal, Pfizer announced overnight that it will seek FDA approval for the vaccine within days. Distribution could then occur by year-end for the vaccine, which final data show is 95% effective among those who developed at least 1 symptom of COVID-19, based on results from the nearly 44,000-person trial. Fatigue and headaches were 2 severe adverse effects reported by the participants, but no serious safety issues were seen, and the vaccine appears well tolerated.

At-home COVID-19 Test Receives Emergency Use Authorization

A 30-minute, at-home, rapid test for COVID-19 has received the go-ahead from the FDA, notes The New York Times. Developed by Lucira Health in California, the nasal-swab test, which would cost close to $50 and require a prescription, is the first of several rapid tests approved by the FDA that can be performed entirely at home or a doctor’s office. Doing so eliminates the need to ship samples for analyzing and long wait times for results, by utilizing a battery-powered test cartridge that will light up as “positive” or “negative.” Any patient younger than 14 years will need an adult to run the test.

Amazon Pharmacy Open for Online Business

Based in the United States, Amazon Pharmacy’s new service offerings include accepting most major insurance plans, 40% discounts on brand name drugs, and free 2-day delivery for Prime members, according to CNN Business. There will also be savings benefits for uninsured individuals and those not wanting to invoke their insurance coverage. PillPack, another digital drugstore, was acquired by Amazon back in 2018, and Amazon Pharmacy is an extension of that. Discounts of up to 80% on generic medications will also be offered.