ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Lawmakers are pushing for an expedited resupply of the drug Remdesivir that has been successful in treating COVID-19 patients.
Doctors across the region have said the medication, which was once used to treat Ebola, is helping them manage the increase in patients because it’s a treatment opportunity and shortening hospital stays.
But now, doctors say they may need to hold back on offering it because of a statewide shortage.
“The patients that we have given that to, they have been able to leave the hospital and are doing very well,” said Dr. Ronnie Sean Benoit with Central Florida Regional Hospital.
Dr. George Ralls with Orlando Health said that has been “a lot of positive anecdotes from our infections disease doctors.”
Orange County received additional supplies of Remdesivir from the state back in June. But now, they’re running low.
Congressman Darren Soto and 12 other Florida Democratic members of Congress have sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services calling for the expedited supply of Remdesivir, saying the Florida Department of Health has temporarily exhausted all stock of the drug.
“We need them to get this done for the health of Floridians,” Soto said.
In the letter, the lawmakers said Florida hospitals could go about a week treatments if swift and immediate action is not taken.
Health and Human Services is set to implement a new model for the distribution of the drug on July 13, but Soto said “we need this done, like, yesterday.”
As of Tuesday, there were 467 people in Orange County hospitals for COVID-19, 110 more than on Sunday.
Thirty of the 207 hospitals with intensive care units say they have reached capacity in the unit. Many hospitals say they have the ability to scale up and bring more beds in if demand continues to rise.