(Associated Press) – Paxlovid can prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19, but experts say it’s being underused.

The pills’ high price and doctors’ hesitation to prescribe them are creating obstacles to getting the drug to everyone who would benefit.

The people most likely to benefit from Paxlovid were the least likely to get it in 2022.

The study by Harvard researchers found that Paxlovid was disproportionately given to patients with lower risk of severe infection.

If it had been properly utilized, the authors concluded, more than 16,000 COVID-19 deaths could have been prevented.

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