This week, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., led a dozen other Democrats in the Florida delegation in sending a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Sec. Alex Azar calling for the expedited resupply of Remdesivir be sent to Florida as the state emerges as the new global epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Florida Department of Health recently informed hospitals that the state has exhausted its supply of Remdesivir, the drug used to treat COVID-19 patients and shorten hospital stays. Florida hospitals are out of the medication and under current plans could go six days without treatments if swift and immediate action is not taken.
In the letter, the representatives urge Azar to expedite the state’s current request for more treatments and get Florida the supply they need before it’s too late and more lives are lost.
“The reality is dire. As cases in Florida continue to reach unsustainable levels, Florida is emerging as the global epicenter of coronavirus,” said Crist on Tuesday. “Now is not the time to leave Floridians without the treatment that our patients need.”
Other Democrats in the Florida delegation who signed the letter include U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Stephanie Murphy, Donna Shalala, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson.
The letter is below:
As Members of Congress from the State of Florida, the global epicenter of new coronavirus cases, we write to bring your attention to an urgent and deteriorating situation in our state. With new cases and the state’s positivity rate running dangerously high, hospitalizations – a lagging indicator of the virus’ spread – are trending precariously higher. Staff capacity is strained; the number of available ICU beds are dwindling; and we are running out of Remdesivir, a drug used by hospitals to shorten the duration of COVID-19 and decrease the amount of coronavirus in patients.
The Florida Department of Health, which allocates Remdesivir to hospitals, recently informed hospital pharmacies that the agency had temporarily exhausted all stock of the drug. According to health professionals we are hearing from, people will die without replenished stock of treatment. Recently, the State of Florida requested additional, emergency supplies of Remdesivir from HHS, and we strongly urge you to expedite consideration of this request.
Further complicating the situation, we were informed by the State of Florida that effective July 13, HHS will implement a new model for the distribution of Remdesivir. With the State allocation exhausted, this seems to leave a gap of at least 6 days that Florida patients will go without access to the treatment. Please provide specific details regarding the operation of the new model so Floridians can be confident that they will have access to treatment should they get sick with COVID-19. A clear and transparent process is in the best interest of patients. With time of the essence, we appreciate your immediate consideration of these urgent matters.