Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat who chairs the House Ways and Means health subcommittee, said on Wednesday that the government’s “distribution of remdesivir seems akin to winning the lottery — a random stroke of luck rather than a medically-informed decision.”
In his letter, Doggett explicitly asked Azar to provide the “formula HHS used to determine which states would receive how many doses of remdesivir and the delivery schedule for these doses.”
Unclear how officials are deciding where to send the drug
Gilead has said it plans to provide the drug internationally, but it’s unclear how countries plan to divvy it up. In his letter, Doggett requested the “formula used to determine how the U.S. was allocated approximately 40% of the available supply and which other countries received how many doses.”
Doggett also called on Azar to describe any agreements between the US government and Gilead, such as for future doses of remdesivir.
Officials acknowledge early missteps
In a call with the nation’s governors on Monday, Azar said remdesivir would in fact be going to all 50 states. “The shipments currently scheduled amount to approximately 75,000 of the 607,000 vials donated,” Azar said, according to audio of the call obtained by CNN.
He also appeared to acknowledge the government’s early missteps with the drug. “The administration heard that on the first couple of distributions — supplies were not always getting to hospitals most in need,” Azar said.
Testifying before Congress on Tuesday, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said: “I think we can all agree upon the fact that we’ve learned a lot of lessons from the remdesivir situation.”