The federal government will be sending an additional 8,000 vials of Remdesivir to Pennsylvania, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick announced this week.
Recently making headlines for its potential to fight coronavirus, Remdesivir is an antiviral drug. The Food and Drug Administration gave it emergency use authorization to treat COVID-19, but it is not a cure.
Originally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was planning to send 1,200 vials to the commonwealth to last the next six weeks. The PA Department of Health then distrusted just 54 doses total to hospitals in Bucks County.
St. Mary Medical Center has 36 and Doylestown Hospital has even fewer at 18. Bucks County has 182 residents hospitalized due to the virus as of Friday evening.
However, the HHS changed its plans Thursday following multiple conversations between HHS Secretary Alex Azar and the Congressman. Now, PA is getting an extra 200 cases of Remdesivir. Each case contains 40 vials, for a total of 8,000 doses.
“The commitment of an additional 200 cases is a big step in the right direction to combatting this pandemic and getting our hospitals and patients the resources they need, but this alone will not be the end-all-be-all. I must stress that this is a clinical drug that has shown to speed up the rate of recovery but it’s not the cure,” said Fitzpatrick.
The extra 8,000 doses means other hospitals in the county, like Lower Bucks Hospital, could see Remdesivir for their patients as well.
Fitzpatrick and 21 officials in Bucks and Montgomery Counties sent a bipartisan letter to PA Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine urging for transparency in the distribution process.
“As we fight to combat this virus, the distribution process must be more transparent,” said Fitzpatrick. “I applaud Secretary Levine for adopting a transparent system for the initial distribution of the drug and thank all the elected officials that joined with me to push for transparency.”
They also requested the department to consider doses for the following hospitals:
- Lower Bucks Hospital
- Jefferson Health Network
- St. Luke’s Hospital
- St. Mary’s Medical Center
- Grand View Health
- Doylestown Health
The full letter is available here. It was signed by the following officials: