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Remdesivir Shortage Hits Europe as Covid-19 Cases Rise

October 7, 2020, 07.08 PM

AMSTERDAM/WARSAW/BRUSSELS, – Europe is facing a shortage of a key Covid-19 drug remdesivir as limited supplies are depleting fast, officials said.

The depletion of the Covid-19 drug comes as global coronavirus cases surge and as the US has bought up most of the drugmaker Gilead’s output.

Gilead Chief Commercial Officer Johanna Mercier said the company expects by next week to be in a position to fulfill orders coming through Europe.

Read also: EU Secures Additional 200 Million Doses of Coronavirus Vaccine

She added that the pharmaceutical company will, by the end of October, be able to meet real-time global demand for remdesivir.

She said the company is working with EU regulators so that the Covid-19 drug can be distributed more widely, but without going through the country-by-country economic review process typically required before a pharmaceutical product can be sold in Europe.

In July, the 27 European Union countries and Britain, with a combined population of 500 million, secured doses to treat about 30,000 patients.

The United States signed a deal for more than 500,000 courses of treatment, accounting for most of Gilead's output through September.

Read also: Trump’s Covid-19 Treatment is Regeneron’s Unapproved Antibody Drug

"Remdesivir has run out," Dutch Health Ministry spokesman Martijn Janssen told Reuters, adding however that new deliveries were expected shortly.

"We want to make sure not only that there is enough supply to go around, but more importantly that everybody has access to it across Europe," Gilead's Mercier said in a telephone interview.

The antiviral drug has been shown to shorten hospital recovery time in severe cases of Covid-19. Remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone are the only drugs authorized in Europe to treat the novel virus.

Both have been given to US President Donald Trump, who is also receiving an experimental antibody cocktail.

Hospitalizations across Europe have been rapidly increasing, although in most countries still far below levels of the spring.

"Due to the increased hospital admissions, the demand for remdesivir is increasing rapidly," the Dutch spokesman said.


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