Alabama could see COVID drug supplies reduced


MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) – Alabama could see its shipments of monoclonal antibodies curtailed as federal officials take over distribution to equitably distribute scarce vital resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, the official said. state health.

The US Department of Health and Human Services said the change was needed after just seven states – Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia and Louisiana – accounted for 70% of monoclonal antibody orders in the country. “Given this reality, we must work to ensure that our offering of these life-saving therapies remains available to all states and territories, not just some,” the department said in a statement.

The seven states are also among those with the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

State health official Scott Harris said on Friday that federal officials told states on Monday that suppliers would no longer be able to order the drugs directly but would have to place those orders through health services. state health. Federal officials will use a formula to decide how many doses – of the approximately 150,000 available each week – each state will receive by rationing treatments in response to a national shortage.

“They will allocate the total number of doses that we will have for our condition based on our case counts and our hospital admissions,” Harris said.

Harris said he was concerned the change could disrupt supply. “We’re very sorry to say that there will likely be some patients who won’t be able to access this drug who thought they were going to have it available to them,” Harris said.

Antibody therapy is a very effective therapy that can lessen the worst effects of COVID-19 and prevent the disease from getting worse and requiring hospitalization.

“There is no doubt that monoclonal antibodies keep people out of the hospital,” Dr Mike Saag, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said this week. The Alabama State Medical Association this week released a statement expressing concern that it will end up limiting the supply of and access to effective treatment.

Doctors continue to stress that vaccination, rather than secondary treatment, is the best way to prevent severe COVID-19 disease.

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