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DeSantis: Florida hospitals not running short of remdesivir

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference at Universal Studios on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Orlando, Fla.

(The Center Square) – Florida hospitals are not running short of remdesivir and the state will receive additional shipments within days, Gov. Ron DeSantis reiterated Friday.

“The White House is expediting more remdesivir for the state of Florida. We think the weekend,” DeSantis said.

Remdesivir is an intravenous drug that “may shorten the recovery time” for COVID-19 patients by “decreasing the amount of the coronavirus in your body,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

DeSantis issued assurances Thursday and Friday about the drug’s supply after Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio twice this week warned Florida hospitals were running short of remdesivir.

“New reports late last night of several hospitals in #Florida with low or no supplies of remdesivir,” Rubio tweeted Thursday. “Shipments are coordinated by the federal govt & we have a bad disconnect between what they think we need & what we really need. Working hard to solve this problem immediately.”

Rubio later added that the state’s “hospital capacity was 20.72% & ICU was 15%.

“But these numbers will get much worse if discharges slow down due to not enough doses of Remdesivir. We can’t wait until July 27th for next allocation,” Rubio said.

Rubio’s office later issued an email statement that said Florida received two recent shipments of remdesivir from the federal government for hospitals that “was not based on the recent increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, and it is clear that Florida hospitals now need more than they did when the assessment was made in early July.”

In response, DeSantis told reporters Thursday during a pandemic mental health roundtable at the Tampa Bay Crisis Center that the state has received several recent shipments of remdesivir, including one last weekend from the federal government and a 280-dose batch from New York on Monday.

DeSantis said,” I wouldn’t say there is a disconnect,” noting it’s more a matter of supply as demand increases.

“As this has come online, it’s kind of defaulted to the standard of care. So as people come in I think they are tending to get prescribed the remdesivir so we obviously want to help with that.”

DeSantis said Florida will receive shipments before July 27.

“I spoke with the Vice President (Mike Pence) last night about the need to continue the supply, so he understands it,” DeSantis said. “And basically I think his thought was, look, we’re looking at southern California, Arizona, Texas and Florida as kind of the priorities on this. And so I do anticipate that we’ll be able to get it. We obviously said that we want to get it as soon as possible.”

DeSantis said Friday the federal government confirmed it would ship remdesivir this weekend.

“Most of the physicians I have spoken to around the state say it is effective. Hospitals want more,” he said. “This is something that is important for some of our patients who have gone into the hospital.”

If there is an issue with the drug, it is not availability but how some hospitals are using it.

“We did have some treatments of it where you were going beyond the five days, which obviously uses up more vials.” DeSantis said. “Basically, I think the White House’s view is, scientifically, we think the five-day regimen can be beneficial. They don’t have much evidence that going beyond that tends to be beneficial.”

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