HHS to allow states to distribute Gilead's remdesivir to combat the coronavirus

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Saturday it will permit state health departments to send out Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir drug to fight the coronavirus.

HHS said in a statement that the distribution of the drug will be made possible because of a donation from Gilead. Remdesivir, which received an emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will be given to coronavirus patients in some of the hardest-hit areas of the country, including New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois.

The state departments of health will distribute the doses to the appropriate hospitals.

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Candidates for the drug must be on ventilators or require supplemental oxygen.

Gilead has already committed to supplying 607,000 vials of remdesivir over the next six weeks in the U.S.

The company’s drug has shown promise in helping patients infected with the coronavirus, and data shows it helped reduce the lengths of hospital stays.

Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day said in late April that his company would donate 1.5 million doses of remdesivir, but HHS clarified Saturday that it was a global figure and that 607,000 doses would be distributed through the U.S. agency.

HHS’s announcement comes as the agency was pressed by lawmakers over the distribution of remdesivir after internal errors resulted in thousands of doses going to "less impacted counties" while others were unable to obtain any.

“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,” Massachusetts Democratic Sens. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyEquilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Olympics medals made of mashed up smartphones Lawmakers urge Biden to make 'bold decisions' in nuclear review OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps | Manchin to back controversial public lands nominee | White House details environmental justice plan MORE and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWill Pence primary Trump — and win? Kavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law Biden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks MORE and Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyOmar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy Overnight Health Care: Fauci clashes with Paul - again | New York reaches .1B settlement with opioid distributors | Delta variant accounts for 83 percent of US COVID-19 cases Duckworth, Pressley introduce bill to provide paid family leave for those who experience miscarriage MORE wrote to Vice President Pence, who is overseeing the administration's coronavirus response, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar.