Antiviral drug remdesivir rationed in Britain as COVID-19 hospitalisations increase
6 October 2020 -

Britain's health ministry said on 6 October 2020, that Britain has rationed its supplies of the antiviral drug remdesivir and is prioritising COVID-19 patients who need it most in the face of rising demand, with further supplies expected this month, Reuters news agency reported on Tuesday.

Gilead Sciences' remdesivir has been shown to shorten hospital recovery time in severe cases of COVID-19, although it has not been shown to reduce mortality.

Reportedly, an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalised patients has put strains on supplies of remdesivir.

A British health ministry spokesman was quoted as saying in an emailed statement: "We are aware of a rise in the use of remdesivir in line with an increase in COVID-19 hospital cases. While there remain plenty of remdesivir supplies, we have asked the NHS (National Health Service) to temporarily prioritise patients to ensure those most likely to benefit can access it."

Reportedly, in July 2020, an English health official had said that new drugs like remdesivir were likely to see supply issues compared to existing generic drugs that can be used to treat COVID-19, such as dexamethasone.

The health ministry clarified that it was expected that the extra criteria for remdesivir use should only be in place for a few weeks, with more remdesivir supplies due towards the end of October 2020, though that would depend on how many patients were hospitalised.



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