Hospitals across the state on Saturday will receive the latest shipment of a COVID-19-treating drug that has fallen in short supply in recent days.
Medical professionals have had to limit prescriptions as the latest delivery of remdesivir has been slow to arrive.
Remdesivir received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency approval for use to treat COVID-19. Health experts have found it helpful to prevent an infection from worsening if a diagnosis is made before a patient requires a ventilator, DeSantis said.
Last week, Vice President Mike Pence said 34,000 vials of remdesivir had arrived in Florida and would be shipped to hospitals. But by that point, the state had already distributed its stockpile of the experimental drug.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had sent the state’s first supply of remdesivir to the Florida Department of Health. But an anticipated second delivery the federal government is sending directly to hospitals has not been delivered.
After asking Pence and HHS Secretary Alex Azar for an accelerated distribution, DeSantis says the medication in federal hands will reach hospitals Saturday. That shipment contains 427 cases of remdesivir, which amounts to 17,080 vials.
“That’ll be something that hopefully will help to improve patient outcomes, particularly when the patient comes in early,” DeSantis said.
“Hospitals believe — most of the physicians I’ve talked to believe that it has been helpful,” he added. “They’re using it. They like it.”
In May, talk turned to how quickly the FDA might act on Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir after preliminary results from a major study found it shortened the recovery time by an average of four days for people hospitalized with COVID-19.
“You do now have a drug that you have proven can actually work on the virus,” the National Institutes of Health’s Dr. Anthony Fauci told The Associated Press.
That came after hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug touted by DeSantis and President Donald Trump as COVID-19 treatments, fell out of favor as medical experts disputed the drug’s effectiveness.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.