LANGHORNE, PA—Today, May 12th, 2020, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), along with state and local officials in Bucks and Montgomery counties, sent a letter to Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, regarding the availability of the clinical drug, Remdesivir. Click here to view a signed copy of the letter.
Earlier this month, 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 donated Remdesivir to the federal stockpile which gives the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to distribute Remdesivir while the company attempts to increase production.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is expecting to receive thirty cases of Remdesivir from HHS today. While the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) receive delivery of the drug, our local hospitals anxiously await to hear if they will receive some of the 1,200 doses given to the Commonwealth.
Last week, Fitzpatrick sent a letter to HHS asking for transparency in the distribution of Remdesivir while pushing for Pennsylvania to receive its fair share of the clinical drug. In response to our letter, our office has been told that Pennsylvania will only receive 30 cases from the federal stockpile within the next 6 weeks. In the coming days, the Congressman plans on speaking with the decisionmakers responsible for the distribution as he pushes for more transparency in the distribution process while ensuring the men and women on the frontlines have the tools they need to save lives.
“The Greater Philadelphia area has been one of the hardest-hit regions of the country. Hospitals in Bucks and Montgomery Counties need to receive their fair share of treatments for COVID-19. This letter is a testament that all levels of government stand together to address the virus head-on,” said Fitzpatrick. “There must be transparency in the distribution of Remdesivir from both the federal and state government. I look forward to working with Dr. Levine and our state and local officials to make sure that our community receives the support it needs.”
Full text of the letter:
Dear Secretary Levine,
I am writing to you today regarding the clinical drug Remdesivir that is manufactured by Gilead Sciences, Inc. At this current moment, the Commonwealth is expecting a shipment of 30 cases of the potentially lifesaving drug, scheduled to be delivered today. As the Pennsylvania Department of Health and PEMA work to receive the drug, our hospitals are left in limbo awaiting word from the agencies whether they will be allotted a portion of the 1,200 doses from the federal stockpile.
Given this information, I ask for full transparency in the distribution of Remdesivir and kindly request full and fair consideration for the following hospitals located in Bucks and Montgomery counties:
• Lower Bucks Hospital • St. Mary’s Medical Center • Doylestown Health
• Grand View Health • St. Luke’s Hospital • Jefferson Health Network
Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the Philadelphia region has been one of the highest impacted areas, and the Commonwealth has the 6th highest number of confirmed cases in the entire nation. Currently, Pennsylvania is slated to only receive 30 cases, so it is imperative that the hospitals that are bearing the brunt of the pandemic in southeastern Pennsylvania have access to the potentially life-saving drug to treat 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 the Pennsylvania Department of Health consider distributing Remdesivir in the most transparent manner 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.
Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01)
Member of Congress