Physicians criticize remdesivir distribution process

Physicians are criticizing the government's distribution of remdesivir, Gilead's drug that received emergency authorization from the FDA May 1 to treat COVID-19, saying the government isn't prioritizing the hospitals that need the drug most, STAT reported. 

So far, about two dozen hospitals have reportedly been selected by the government to receive remdesivir. But it's unclear how the government is deciding which hospitals get the drug and which part of the government is making the decisions. 

"Those of us on the frontlines treating people with Covid-19 need to know what the criteria are and where this drug is going to be available and why those places were selected," Daniel Kaul, MD, an infectious disease physician at the University of Michigan, told STAT

Even hospitals that did receive the drug aren't clear on why they were selected. Paul Biddinger, MD, director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Disaster Medicine in Boston, told STAT he has no idea why his hospital was chosen to receive a shipment of remdesivir. 

He told STAT his team has contacted the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to see if the hospital can donate its remdesivir supply to the department so it's not the only hospital in Boston with access to the drug. 

In past outbreaks, the government's distribution of critical drugs was different, according to STAT. During the H1N1 flu outbreak in 2009, the CDC created a website as soon as the FDA authorized emergency use of the drug peramivir so hospitals could apply for a shipment of the drug. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency told STAT that HHS is handling remdesivir distribution. An HHS spokesperson told STAT they would look into the matter, and Gilead declined STAT's request for a comment. 

AmerisourceBergen, the distributor for remdesivir, told STAT it is working with Gilead and the government to distribute remdesivir to hospitals "regardless of whether they are AmerisourceBergen customers. Decisions on which hospitals and the quantity of the product they will receive are being made by the government with AmerisourceBergen using our infrastructure and expertise to efficiently move any product we receive from Gilead in keeping with the government’s directives."

Read the full article here.


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