US hospitals turn down remdesivir, limit use to sickest coronavirus patients

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Updated: Sep 12, 2020, 07:11 PM(IST)

An ampule of remdesivir is pictured during a news conference at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, Germany, April 8, 2020, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues Photograph:( Reuters )

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed on Friday that some hospitals are still buying the Gilead Sciences GILD.O medicine to build inventory in case the pandemic accelerates over the winter. But current supplies are adequate, in part because they are limiting use to severely ill patients.

Hospitals in the United States have turned down about a third of their allocated supplies of the Covid-19 drug remdesivir since July as need for the costly antiviral wanes.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed on Friday that some hospitals are still buying the Gilead Sciences GILD.O medicine to build inventory in case the pandemic accelerates over the winter. But current supplies are adequate, in part because they are limiting use to severely ill patients.

Between July 6 and September 8, state and territory public health systems reportedly accepted about 72% of the remdesivir they were offered. Hospitals in turn purchased only about two-thirds of what states and territories accepted.

A surplus of remdesivir - which costs $3,120 for a 6-vial intravenous course - marks a turnaround from earlier in the pandemic, when supplies of the drug had fallen short of demand in some regions.

Government-led distribution of remdesivir will expire at the end of September. Hospitals said they have little information on availability after that.

Remdesivir was first authorised by the FDA in May for emergency use in COVID-19 patients hospitalised and on oxygen support after data showed it helped shorten hospital recovery time.

The agency last month expanded use to hospitalized patients who do not require oxygen support, based on data published in the JAMA medical journal showing that the drug provided a modest benefit for those patients.

There is no evidence that Covid-19 patients admitted to the hospital for a day or two due to an underlying health issue, like diabetes or high blood pressure, would benefit from the drug.

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