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Fitzpatrick Fights for Local Hospital Access to Potentially Life Saving COVID-19 Treatment

May 7, 2020
Press Release

LANGHORNE, PA—Today, May 7th, 2020, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) sent a letter to United States Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar regarding the availability of the clinical drug, Remdesivir, which is manufactured by Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Last week, Remdesivir received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), following data from a clinical trial indicated that it shortened the recovery time of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Gilead Services is using the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) and HHS to distribute Remdesivir while the company attempts to increase production. Earlier this week, dozens of hospitals in our area received denial notices regarding their request to obtain and use the clinical drug. Currently, Gilead has about 1.5 million doses on hand waiting to be distributed.

“The distribution of Remdesivir must be transparent and allocated based on state and regional COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The areas of our country most heavily impacted must be made a priority,” said Fitzpatrick. “Southeastern Pennsylvania has been the highest inflicted area of Pennsylvania and is in close proximity to New York City, the highest impacted metropolitan region in the United States, and New Jersey, the state with the second-highest number of confirmed cases. It is critical that our hospitals gain easy access to Remdesivir, to allow our healthcare professionals to provide the best possible treatment for our communities.”

Full text of the letter:

Dear Secretary Azar,

I am writing to you today regarding the clinical drug, Remdesivir that is manufactured by Gilead Sciences, Inc. Within the last few days, multiple hospitals in Pennsylvania, including dozens of hospitals in southeastern Pennsylvania, were denied access to the drug. It is my understanding that Gilead Sciences has turned over the distribution process of Remdesivir to both FEMA and Health and Human Services (HHS). Given this information, I ask for the distribution of Remdesivir to be more transparent. 

The distribution of Remdesivir should be transparent and should be based on state and regional COVID-19 case data and hospitalization rates. Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the Philadelphia region has been the highest impacted area in the entire state. Located just shy of 100 miles from the highest impacted metro area in the country and bordering the state with the 2nd highest number of confirmed cases in the nation, Southeastern Pennsylvania is continuing to see an increasing number of positive cases and deaths daily.

With our healthcare infrastructure pushed to its limits, it is crucial for the hospitals in our region to have supplies of Remdesivir to critically ill patients who contracted the novel coronavirus. Given the needs of hospitals in Bucks and Montgomery Counties and Southeastern Pennsylvania, I formally request that HHS consider distributing Remdesivir to Pennsylvania and make this drug readily available to the hospitals of southeastern Pennsylvania.

I ask for your full and fair consideration of this urgent request. If you have any questions or if I can be of any assistance, please contact my office at (215) 579-8102.

Sincerely,

 

Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01)

Member of Congress

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