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States Make Plans to Distribute Remdesivir

On May 9, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response announced an allocation plan for the drug remdesivir, after an initial shipment was sent to seven states.

The allocation comes from a donation by Gilead Sciences Inc. to the U.S. government. The Food and Drug Administration on May 1 issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for remdesivir, the investigational antiviral drug, for treatment of suspected or lab-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease. Severe disease is defined as patients with low blood oxygen levels or those needing oxygen therapy or more intensive breathing support, such as a ventilator.

HHS has left it up to the states’ discretion on how to distribute the drug, noting that “state and local health departments have the greatest insight into community-level needs in the COVID-19 response, including appropriate distribution of a treatment in limited supply.” States are beginning to release plans on the distribution of the drug.

Georgia

The Georgia Department of Health (DPH) released its plan to distribute remdesivir throughout the state. The distribution plan was developed by DPH leadership, including district health directors and emergency preparedness staff, in accordance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines for its use. The plan is based on the number of patients on ventilators, the most severely ill, and clinical best practices. Georgia also received another allotment of remdesivir, which it will distribute next week. For now, eight hospitals across the state have received cases of the drug.

Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health released a memo regarding the distribution of remdesivir. The letter states, “Remdesivir will be distributed to the hospitals that have seen the most critically ill COVID-19 patients and to safety-net hospitals and those treating large communities of color.” Fourteen hospitals have received cases of the drug across the state.

Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Health released its plan to distribute remdesivir throughout the state. The hospitals to receive cases of the drug are based on the number of COVID-19 cases over a recent seven-day period and the severity of the illness of those patients, based on whether they are on a ventilator. A total of 51 hospitals across the state will receive remdesivir.

Texas

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced its distribution plan of 30 cases of remdesevir to 15 hospitals in 14 communities. Each case of the drug contains 40 vials. DSHS consulted on the distribution rationale with the Texas Hospital Association, Texas Medical Association, and the Rapid Assessment Subcommittee of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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