I-Team: Drug used to treat COVID-19 in short supply


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A drug used to treat COVID-19 is in short supply. The I-Team has been working to find out what’s unfolding inside hospitals in Southern Nevada.

We discovered our state is facing challenges with the drug Remdesivir, which is currently being rationed.

The State gets a limited supply through the federal government. Then, hospitals get it based on patient numbers because the supply is so limited.

Remdesivir is only available right now in a hospital setting.

It’s administered through an IV, and it is being given to patients who are having respiratory issues.

In May, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for COVID-19, stating the drug’s known and potential benefits outweigh the risks.

Here’s how the drug is supplied:

  • The State requests Remdesivir from the federal government
  • Nevada State Board of Pharmacy makes sure the drug is distributed to the hospitals based on need

According to the Board of Pharmacy, the State did not receive the full amount as requested from the feds.

The Board provided numbers based on two-week supplies. The last delivery included 1,600 vials, which could potentially treat 266 patients.

A typical treatment is six doses for one patient.

The delivery that is currently in the works includes 2,680 doses, which could treat 446 patients.

Right now, the Nevada Hospital Association is reporting nearly 1,100 hospitalized patients confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19, with 255 in the intensive care unit.

While the drug is in short supply, the executive secretary for the Board of Pharmacy tells the I-Team he has not heard of any patient in Nevada needing and not getting it.

If one hospital needs it, the State facilitates getting the supply from another hospital that has it.

A spokesperson for Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals said they are currently putting every dose they are allocated to use.

But as we’ve been reporting, COVID-19 cases are increasing, and the secretary says the supply of the drug is something to keep an eye on.

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