More COVID-19 treatment drug being sent to state

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday was expected to be sending 24 cases / 960 doses of remdesivir to Montana, which they have given emergency-use authorization to treat certain patients hospitalized with COVID-19, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines said.


Remdesivir It is an antiviral that shortens hospitalization by about an average of four days.


“These shipments of remdesivir will help treat and support Montanans hospitalized with COVID-19,” Daines, R-Mont., said in an email. There are 40 vials per case and the average patient receives 6.25 vials over a five-day course of treatment.


Jon Ebelt, spokesman for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, said the agency is aware of the shipment, adding it has not arrived yet, “but we will be working with the Montana Hospital Association regarding distribution.”


He said it will add to previous deliveries of the drug to Montana. He said DPHHS has been distributing remdesivir to physicians since May.


Remdesivir was superior to placebos in shortening the time to recovery in adults, according to news reports.


As of Tuesday, Montana had 2,712 cases of COVID-19 and 40 deaths. There were 1,493 people who recovered and 1,1790 cases were active. The state reported 49 people were hospitalized out of 174 hospitalizations.


In late June the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced an agreement with Gilead Sciences to get large supplies of  remdesivir through September, allowing American hospitals to purchase the drug in amounts allocated by HHS and state health departments.


Gilead recently announced the price for remdesivir would be $3,120 for patients with private insurance. The amount that patients pay out of pocket depends on insurance, income and other factors.


“We’re in uncharted territory with pricing a new medicine, a novel medicine, in a pandemic,” Gilead’s chief executive, Dan O’Day, told The Associated Press.


Daines said he has been an advocate in the U.S. Senate, pushing for American development of a drug or therapeutic to treat COVID-19.