Hospitals will be able to buy remdesivir, Gilead Sciences’ antiviral medication used to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients, directly from distributor AmerisourceBergen, federal authorities announced Thursday.
Supplies of remdesivir, which is the only antiviral drug along with emergency use authorization to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients, have increased in the last several weeks as demand has receded and production has expanded. Consequently, HHS will no longer oversee distribution through state health departments as planned .
“There is enough provide on hand to treat every existing COVID hospitalization in the U. S. plus ample supply even if incidence spikes, ” Johanna Mercier, Gilead’s key commercial officer, said during a push call with reporters.
Hospitals have not been buying the full available amounts of the medication over the past several weeks, which is a good indication, said Dr . John Redd, the captain in the U. S. Open public Health Service and chief healthcare officer of the HHS Assistant Admin for Preparedness and Response.
“That is a crucial indicator that the supply exceeds the particular demand and that there is no need for the government to oversee allocations of the medication, ” he said during the contact.
AmerisourceBergen will still be the sole distributor of remdesivir. When hospitals hadn’t secured allocations from the drug with the distributor prior, they need to not have trouble getting supplies, He Sample, vice president of producer operations at AmerisourceBergen, said throughout the call. There will be no minimum purchase threshold, he added.
Preliminary data from a government-sponsored trial showed remdesivir reduced recuperation times by about four days, that could save hospitals $12, 000 for each patient, Gilead estimates, although wellness policy experts have cautioned that will hospital costs vary widely which the outcomes aren’t yet clear.
“There are now several (randomized clinical trials) of remdesivir in hospitalized patients with different results, raising the question of whether or not the discrepancies are artifacts of research design choices, including patient populations, or whether the drug is much less efficacious than hoped, ” Erin McCreary, infectious disease pharmacist on the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, plus Derek Angus, chair of UPMC’s critical care medicine department, published in a JAMA editorial .
Remdesivir costs $3, 120 for a five-day treatment period. Gilead had donated 150, 500 treatment courses for the drug, yet that supply ran out in late June. Since that time, the cost has been incorporated into the DRG payments hospitals receive for treating COVID-19 patients.
Mercier said complete FDA approval of the drug is usually “imminent, ” which would likely broaden its use.