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Coronavirus has disrupted care for other diseases globally, Fauci says

Coronavirus has disrupted care for other diseases globally,
Fauci says 1
Vials of remdesivir are seen in Hamburg, Germany, in April. Ulrich Perrey/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

To increase the supply of remdesivir for the treatment of Covid-19 in the United States, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat from Texas, and the consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen are calling for President Trump to let generic drug makers produce the drug. 

Gilead, the California company that makes remdesivir, has exclusive rights to sell the drug in the US.

The situation is different in other countries. 

“There are manufactures in India and Pakistan and the United Kingdom that have been safely producing generic remdesivir in over 100 countries. Unfortunately, we’re not one of them,” Doggett said during a virtual news conference hosted by the advocacy groups PrEP4All Collaboration, Public Citizen and Social Security Works.

“We could quickly expand the supply if Trump would belatedly exert some leadership,” Doggett added.

About the supply in the US: About 38 hospitals in 12 states have reported shortages of remdesivir since July, according to a report by Public Citizen.

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Doctors on the call expressed concern over shortages of remdesivir in the US.

“We do not have enough remdesivir nationally,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a CNN medical analyst. “There simply is not enough of it to go around. 

Dr. Thomas Patterson, chief of infectious diseases at UT Health San Antonio, said his hospital faced shortages of remdesivir during a surge of Covid-19 in August.

“We received enough remdesivir to treat less than a third of the admitted patients — so a really woefully inadequate supply,” Patterson said.

US hospitals do not directly purchase remdesivir the way they do other drugs. Because there isn’t enough to go around, the US Department of Health and Human Services regularly ships remdesivir to states, which then deliver the drugs to hospitals.

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