The drug with the potential to speed recovery and decrease the chance of dying from the coronavirus, remdesivir, is running low at area hospitals.
Sen. Marco Rubio says he is trying to get more remdesivir to hospitals in the state before the next planned shipment on July 27.
Venessa Goodnow, the chief pharmacy officer at Jackson Health System, tells NBC 6 they need a shipment of the drug before then, adding they will run out of remdesivir over the weekend.
Polling her peers at other area hospitals, she says they are in the same boat.
“The allocation that was given has been inventory to get us through this week, but similar to the Jackson Health System, we are all running very short on supply and do expect to run out shortly if they have not run out already,” Goodnow said.
She says Jackson doesn’t have a waiting list for patients at this point, but that’s a possibility in the future.
“We’ve been running tight for several weeks now,” said Jackson Health System CEO Carlos Migoya, who added the surge in COVID cases has also caused a shortage in ICU beds. “We’ve seen the numbers really grow in the last 14 days from 200 patients to 400 patients."
According to current numbers from the Agency for Health Care Administration, only 12% of ICU beds are available at Broward County hospitals and in Miami-Dade County, about 13% are available.
“We have several weeks where we can continue to do this, but the only way we’re going to be able to control it completely is if we continue to make sure that the community is compliant and maintains masking and social distancing,” Migoya said.
Baptist Health tells NBC 6 their workers are relying on remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients who meet certain criteria, but their supply is running “critically low.” A spokesperson told NBC 6 they are “urgently” working with state and federal officials to identify additional avenues to get more supply of the drug.
Broward Health and Memorial Healthcare System told NBC 6 they have adequate supply at this point.
Karina Castano, a spokesperson from HCA, which includes Kendall Regional Medical Center and Mercy Hospital, acknowledged the availability of remdesivir is "currently very limited" but wouldn't say if local HCA facilities are experiencing shortages.
In an email, Castano wrote: “We are working with the Florida Department of Health, HCA Healthcare and our supplies to ensure that we maintain an appropriate supply of medications.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday the federal government will deliver directly to local hospitals from the national stockpile.
It’s important to remember the drug has not yet been proven to be life or death. It has shown to reduce the days sick from 15 to 11.
Goodnow says they have enough supply to continue treatment for those already using the drug.
“We actually allocate all of the vials for their dose. So remdesivir is a total of six vials per patient. So we do guarantee those who started on remdesivir will finish their full course of remdesivir,” Goodnow said. “That’s something we take very seriously.”