On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that Trump administration officials mismanaged the initial distribution of remdesivir, an antiviral drug that clinical trials suggest can ease the severity of coronavirus cases.
“The first tranche of 607,000 vials of the antiviral medication remdesivir, donated to the government by drugmaker Gilead Sciences, was distributed in early May — in some cases to the wrong hospitals, to hospitals with no intensive care units and therefore no eligible patients, and to facilities without the needed refrigeration to store it, meaning some had to be returned to the government, said the officials familiar with the distribution effort,” reported Yasmeen Abutaleb, Josh Dawsey, Lena Sun, and Laurie McGinley.
“The government’s initial distribution in the first week of May was so problematic that White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx shared fallout from state health and hospital officials with senior staffers on the task force, according to three senior administration officials,” continued the report. “State officials had expressed anger and frustration that the government initially decided which hospitals to send the drug to without consulting them.”
The problem was reportedly fixed after the initial chaos. For instance, according to the report: “Daniel Abazia, director of pharmacy for Capital Health, a two-hospital system in southern New Jersey, said the confusion that surrounded the initial rollout of remdesivir dissipated as the state took over the allocation. He said the health system has gotten two shipments of the drug and now is in a ‘good position,’ especially since its number of covid-19 patients is decreasing.”
However, “Doctors said that because the drug is the only approved treatment for covid-19 patients and in extremely short supply, any delay or reduced availability would be potentially catastrophic.”
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