Zetian (Nancy) Zhang, the wife of JD.com founder Richard Liu, on December 26 reportedly posted a tip on personal social media regarding how to buy Pfizer’s COVID-19 drug Paxlovid on the JD Health platform, arousing widespread discussion. Many places across China are now facing a dramatic spike in COVID-19 infections. Due to the increasing number of patients with severe symptoms, market demand for drugs such as Paxlovid and Azvudine has soared.
Nancy Zhang posted, “Many friends want to buy Pfizer’s Paxlovid. Since it is a prescription drug, it cannot be sold directly on e-commerce platforms. Friends in need can search for JD Health in JD.com‘s app, and talk to a doctor via the platform. The doctor will give a prescription and the drug will be available for purchase. At present, the supply is sufficient.” She also attached a purchase guide in the form of screenshots.
Previously, some consumers did buy Paxlovid on JD Health. However, many consumers later have said that they can no longer buy it. According to a report by Yicai, the chat records between a user and an online consultation doctor showed that the doctor said that he could not prescribe. Subsequently, some media outlets tried to consult the doctor on the JD Health platform, only to be told that the drug was out of stock.
The introduction of Paxlovid to JD Health shows that it is not open for retail sale, and only nucleic acid or antigen-positive users can get the prescription at fever clinics within internet hospitals, and the price of a single box is 2,640 yuan ($379). At present, the appointment page of the drug shows that “the current channel does not support the purchase of COVID-19 drugs, please go to a fever clinic to consult a doctor.”
Paxlovid, packaged in Nirmatrelvir tablets and Ritonavir tablets, is an oral drug developed by US firm Pfizer and imported and distributed by Chinese medicine institutions. According to Pfizer’s key clinical trials, the drug can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 89%.
It is worth noting that, on December 25, according to a report by The Beijing News, Beijing will uniformly distribute Paxlovid to various community health service centers in the near future, and community doctors will guide patients in their jurisdiction to obtain antiviral treatment. Some community health service centers have already booked the drug.