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As Remdesivir Arrives in NH, Shaheen Urges Trump Administration to Be Transparent on National Distribution

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent a letter this week with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and 11 Senators to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) seeking transparency and information regarding the distribution process for the COVID-19 therapeutic remdesivir. Shaheen and the Senators cited significant concerns raised by hospitals, health providers, patients and medical societies regarding the opaque process under which the federal government is determining distribution of remdesivir, as well as the future supply to meet patient needs.  Given the likely federal role in distributing future COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, the Senators requested a briefing by May 19 from the administration officials in charge of the remdesivir allocation process. 

New Hampshire has received 400 vials of the antiviral, which have been distributed to 13 hospitals.

“We acknowledge that the limited current supply and substantial demand for remdesivir results in necessary choices about distribution.  However, in the midst of this pandemic, it is unacceptable for our health care system and patients to be left in the dark about if, how, and when, supply of this therapeutic may arrive,” Shaheen and the Senators wrote. “Given the likelihood of future therapeutics and vaccines being approved or authorized for use in the U.S., it is essential that the Administration assuage concerns about this initial test run of such federal distribution and any potentially unfair system for distributing essential medical supplies.”

On May 9, HHS announced additional plans for shipments to states to be in charge of remdesivir distribution, leaving many unanswered questions about timing, supply chain and the amounts determined for each state’s allocation.

The letter was also signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Angus King (I-ME), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

Full text of the letter is available here