Lawmakers Quiz Azar on Remdesivir Distribution

May 15, 2020

Democratic lawmakers are pressing HHS Secretary Alex Azar on how the department is handling the distribution of remdesivir.

HHS released details last weekend of its distribution plan of the COVID-19 treatment and said states will make the final call on which hospitals get the drug (DID, May 11).

But Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), in a May 13 letter to Azar, asked for details on how the department decides which states receive the drug. They said the distribution seemed “akin to winning the lottery — a random stroke of luck rather than a medically informed decision.”

The lawmakers asked for the formula HHS used to determine which states received remdesivir and for the guidance HHS gives to states on how to allocate remdesivir to hospitals.

DeLauro and Doggett stressed the urgency of the information, saying that “a few weeks could mean many lives lost or worsened illness” for state health leaders who need the information.

“We have received a number of letters from Congress on COVID-19, and the Department is working to respond,” an HHS spokesperson said. “We continue to maintain an open line of communication with members of Congress, including briefings for members of both the House and Senate, while helping coordinate the response to the public health emergency.”

Read the letter here: www.fdanews.com/05-14-20-HHSremdesivirletter.pdf. — Jordan Williams