The United States will receive less than half of Gilead Sciences Inc.’s global donation of 1.5 million vials of its drug to treat COVID-19 over the next six weeks, an amount it is estimated will not be enough to treat all patients who would qualify for it.
Gilead will donate nearly 607,000 vials of its remdesivir to the US during that time period. That amount is enough to treat 78,000 hospitalized patients, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS. Health officials authorized the emergency use of the treatment earlier this month.
“The initial offer for remdesivir is likely to be more restricted than we previously estimated,” Brian Abrahams, an analyst at RBC, said in a note to clients. He said he would have expected 80% of Gilead’s donation to be distributed in the U.S. Distribution will also be slower than expected, less than 50,000 doses in the first two shipments.
More than 300,000 eligible patients in the US They will not have access to treatment from the Foster City, California-based company until the end of July. That and “a limited offer until almost the end of the year” could put pressure on state health departments, according to Abrahams.
Gilead said the company was not deciding on the remdesivir allocation and deferred questions about donations and distribution to the US government. HHS did not respond to requests for comment.
Gilead’s shares rose 3.2% on Monday and are up 22% this year.
“Hear our supplication”
New York State has been the epicenter of the pandemic with more than 330,000 of the 1.3 million cases of COVID-19 in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Last week, the state received the largest remdesivir donation so far, of 565 boxes, as part of an initial allocation to seven states, HHS said in a statement Saturday.
In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the amount of the medicine shipped to his city was about 10% of what he needs.
“We continue to be the epicenter of this crisis. Therefore, I hope that the White House will listen to our appeal and quickly provide us with the additional doses that we need, ”said the mayor during his daily briefing on Sunday.
The agency said that as of the afternoon of May 7, six more states received the drug. Maryland and Connecticut were assigned 30 boxes each, while Michigan was given 40 boxes. Critical points like Illinois and Nueva received more than 140 and 110 boxes each. Iowa, meanwhile, got 10 boxes. Each box contains 40 vials of remdesivir.
The shortage could bode well for another emergency use approval, this time for BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc., some Twitter users speculated. On Monday, the stock rose 15%, to its best level in a year. The small-cap company is testing galidesivir in a placebo-controlled study in Brazil. The first part of the study will include 24 patients hospitalized for COVID-19.