indica News Bureau-
Gilead ups its donation of the Covid-19 drug remdesivir for U.S. hospitals, but there’s no clarity on how they’ll be allocated.
The US federal government will be getting additional 300,000 plus doses of the experimental COVID-19 therapy ‘Remdesivir’
Remdesivir is an antiviral medication developed by Northern California based biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. It has been authorized for emergency use in the US for people with severe symptoms.
Through a report from STAT, it has come to light that the company had previously planned on donating 607,000 doses but has now upped it to 940,000. However, there has been no acknowledgment or explanation for the new numbers, in a letter sent by a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) official sent to governors on Saturday.
“The numbers keep changing,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), who provided a copy of the letter to STAT. “There was no explanation of the change.”
Although the letter doesn’t explain the reason for the increase, the move comes as the federal government works to try and ensure a more equitable distribution of its limited supply of the drug. Those 300,000 plus doses would help treat an extra 55,000 patients. This could help alleviate concerns that there will not be enough of the medication for all eligible patients.
The problem is that there is no clear indication of how the medication will be allocated and distributed to hospitals around the country.
As Rochelle Walensky, the chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, said last week, “it’s an impossible position, it’s awful, to have this feeling of impending doom without a plan.”
In early May, shortly after it was authorized to be used on an emergency basis, physicians were baffled as to why certain coronavirus-slammed hospitals received boxes of the drug, and others received none.
Amy Compton-Phillips, the chief clinical officer of Providence Health & Services, said that “if they do this without any warning and any plan and any transparency, it makes us not trust that the system is fair and equitable.”
Both politicians and doctors across the country wanted to know how the federal allocation system actually worked. But the explanation given by the HHS lacks clarity on how they had come up with those numbers.