Limited stock of Gilead Sciences' experimental antiviral remdesivir used to treat COVID-19 is arriving at hospitals, and location is a driving factor in whether a patient gets any as states, counties and hospitals in the US use different approaches to allocate their shares, as reported in Morningstar.
Doctors say the FDA's criteria for remdesivir use under its May 1 emergency authorization are broad and little published research points to who might benefit most.
Hospitals affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh decide who gets the drug by lottery designed to slightly boost chances of patients from economically distressed neighborhoods, said Doug White, a doctor at the University of Pittsburgh.
He added the lottery will also increase chances for essential workers, such as bus drivers, agricultural workers and grocery-store clerks.
Meanwhile, West Virginia hospitals will use the drug for patients on a "first come, first served" basis, while UW Medicine in Seattle is requiring anonymous patient applications, to avoid possible bias.
States took over allocations to specific hospitals after the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) faced criticism for its initial distribution. HHS will have shipped 80% of Gilead's initial donation of about 607,000 doses to states by the end of the week, the agency said.