Senators Markey & Warren, Rep. Pressley Call for Transparency in Coronavirus Drug Distribution

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The following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey and Sen Elizabeth Warren’s offices. Both were elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. Both are Democrats.

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WASHINGTON DC – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) sent a letter Friday, May 8, calling on Vice President Mike Pence and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to immediately explain how the federal government is distributing remdesivir, a drug recently approved to treat COVID-19.

Reports from recent days indicate the federal government has started distributing the drug remdesivir, which received an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to treat COVID-19.

However, the distribution process is opaque, lacks clear guidelines, and does not focus on the communities that have been most impacted by the disease.

“The federal government must ensure that the distribution of COVID-19 therapies such as remdesivir, or future vaccines, is transparent and orderly, and that these treatments reach highly impacted areas that are in need of these critical resources the most,” write the lawmakers in their letter to Vice President Pence and Secretary Azar.  “Congress and the public need to know whether HHS is making its distribution decisions in backroom deals or is relying on data and evidence to ensure that potentially life-saving drugs reach the patients who need them.”

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

Hospitals across the nation are reporting uneven distribution of remdesivir, with the drug going to hospitals with fewer COVID-19 patients than others. In Massachusetts, some medical centers that have been hardest hit did not get notified that they would receive the drug.

For example, Cambridge Health Alliance, a major safety net and the state’s only public hospital, is serving an ongoing COVID-19 hotspot and treating some of the most vulnerable patients but was not included on the federal distribution list.

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