Initial Chaotic Distribution Of Remdesivir Left States With Handful Of Doses For Thousands Of Patients
Stat takes a deep dive into how Tennessee pharmacists had to make tough decisions--and sometimes road trips--to distribute their scarce supply of remdesivir. The shortages and murky federal calculus that determined the amount of the drug that went to different areas created a deeper divide between the haves and have-nots within the health system. In other pharmaceutical news: mergers, compounding pharmacies, media relations and antibody therapies.
How A Family’s Frantic Search For Remdesivir — And A 330-Mile Road Trip — Reshaped Tennessee’s Covid-19 Response
The pharmacists were looking for a gray-haired man in a brown shirt. That’s how he’d described himself a few minutes before, as he was pulling off the interstate. He’d just driven 165 miles west, through much of Tennessee — crisscrossing the crooks in the Caney Fork River, passing through the Cumberland Plateau’s mountain laurels and sandstone bluffs, whizzing past cows in lush springtime pastures — straight into the heart of Nashville. His plan was to pick up the drug, turn around, and drive right back to Oak Ridge, so he could get treatment to a patient that same night, before things got any worse. (Boodman, 6/9)
Analysts Raise Questions About AstraZeneca's Interest In Gilead
Amid intense interest in Gilead Sciences (GILD) thanks to its experimental Covid-19 drug, an out-of-left-field report emerged over the weekend that AstraZeneca (AZN) may want to buy or merge with the company. Although AstraZeneca quickly downplayed the likelihood of any deal, Gilead stock gained, while AstraZeneca shares fell slightly. Naturally, this also triggered speculation among Wall Street analysts about the merits of such a transaction, which would be the largest in pharmaceutical industry history. (Silverman, 6/8)
The Coronavirus Is Reignting A Fierce Debate Over Compounded Drugs
In hopes of alleviating potential drug shortages and other issues wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration drastically rolled back its oversight of compounding pharmacies — a swift and sweeping relaxing of the rules that were put in place after a fungal meningitis outbreak traced to one such center killed more than 60 and sickened over 700. Public health experts say there’s merit to relaxing the rules amid the pandemic, but they’re already cautioning that there’s no reason to make the changes permanent. Compounders, meanwhile, are gearing up for a fight to do just that. (Florko, 6/9)
Coronavirus Drugmakers' Latest Tactics: Science By Press Release
Vaccine maker Moderna attracted glowing headlines and bullish investors when it revealed that eight participants in a preliminary clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine had developed antibodies to the virus. The company’s share price jumped nearly 20 percent that day as it released a massive stock offering. But the full results of the 45-person safety study haven’t been published, even though Moderna began a second, larger trial in late May aimed at determining whether the vaccine works. Several vaccine researchers say the scant public information on the earlier safety study is hard to evaluate because it addresses less than 20 percent of participants. (Brennan and Goldberg, 6/5)
Explainer: What Are Antibody Therapies And Who Is Developing Them For COVID-19?
While some potential vaccines have emerged in the global race to find a way to stop the spread of COVID-19, many scientists and researchers believe antibody based therapies hold great promise for treating people already infected with the disease. These therapies use antibodies generated by infected humans or animals to fight off the disease in patients. They date back to the late 19th century, when researchers used a serum derived from the blood of infected animals to treat diphtheria. For COVID-19 treatment, researchers are studying the use of convalescent plasma and other treatments made with blood from recently recovered patients. (Erman, 6/9)