The Latest Debate In Rationing Care: Which Patients Get Treated With Limited Supply Of Remdesivir?
Doctors and hospitals lobbed criticism at the Trump administration for its distribution of the experimental drug, which has been found to cut hospitalization stays. But once facilities have the medication, providers will have to make tough decisions about which patients get it.
With Little Data, Doctors Struggle To Decide Which Covid-19 Patients Should Get Remdesivir
Now that the federal government has begun distributing the experimental Covid-19 drug remdesivir, hospitals are in a bind. So far, it’s the only medication that has shown benefit for coronavirus patients in rigorous studies. But there isn’t enough for everyone who’s eligible. That leaves doctors with a wrenching ethical decision: Who gets the drug, and who doesn’t? As if the question wasn’t hard enough on moral grounds alone, it’s made even trickier by a dearth of data: Clinicians still don’t have the fine-grained study results showing which patients are most likely to benefit from the medication. Other antiviral medications work best when given earlier on in the course of illness — and anecdotally, that seems true for remdesivir, too — but it’s hard to make such calls with any certainty if you don’t have robust data. (Boodman and Ross, 5/12)
The Wall Street Journal:
Distribution Of Key Drug Was Flawed, Says White House Official
The White House coronavirus response coordinator, in an email to senior colleagues, said the way the administration initially distributed supplies of the promising new drug remdesivir shouldn’t happen again, according to an email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Dr. Deborah Birx, in the May 7 email sent to fellow Trump administration task force members and other senior officials, said her colleagues would review how the decision-making led to a “misalignment” of the drug’s allocation in the days after the government began distribution. (Armour and Walker, 5/11)
In other pharmaceutical news —
Hydroxychloroquine Shows No Benefit Against Coronavirus In N.Y. Study
A decades-old malaria medicine touted by the president as a coronavirus treatment showed no benefit for patients hospitalized in New York. There was also no noticeable advantage for patients that took the drug paired with the antibiotic azithromycin, according to hotly anticipated research published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (Owermohle, 5/11)