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Department of Health distributes third shipment of drug to help treat COVID-19 patients in hospitals


The Department of Health distributed the third shipment of the investigational antiviral medication, remdesivir, to treat patients in the hospital with COVID-19. Yesterday, 8,928 doses of medication were sent to 81 hospitals. The medication was sent to the department by the federal government on Thursday, May 21, and shipped to these hospitals on Friday, May 22. Local hospitals included in the shipment were St. Mary Medical Center, Abington Memorial Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, Bethlehem, Doylestown Hospital, Jefferson Bucks County, Lower Bucks Hospital and Grand Views Hospital.

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“The department is working to give our hospitals every opportunity to treat patients with COVID-19,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “It is important to note that there is limited information on the safety and effectiveness of using remdesivir to treat people in the hospital with COVID-19. However, it was shown in a clinical trial to shorten the recovery time in some people, which is why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of the medication for treatment.”

The Department of Health first distributed 1,200 doses of the medication to 51 hospitals across Pennsylvania on Tuesday, May 12, and a second round of 7,938 doses were sent to 79 hospitals on Friday, May 15 and Monday, May 18. The hospitals that have received these shipments were determined based on the number of COVID-19 patients at the hospital over a recent seven-day period, and the severity of the illness of those patients based on whether they are on a ventilator. The department will continue to work with our federal partners to acquire more doses of this medication to serve more patients across Pennsylvania.