Hospitals may limit access to Eli Lilly COVID-19 treatment

Hospitals may limit access to Eli Lilly COVID-19 treatment

November 17, 2020

American hospitals may have to ration Eli Lilly & Co.’s new COVID-19 treatment as the rapid spread of the virus strains their limited supplies, according to a new report.

Hospitals and medical groups are considering giving the antibody drug — which was cleared for emergency use last week — only to people with multiple coronavirus risk factors or those whose immune systems haven’t started to fight off the virus, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The Trump administration has purchased 300,000 doses of the treatment, but experts say that may only cover a week’s worth of new infections given that the Food and Drug Administration has deemed the drug appropriate for a broad swath of COVID patients, including people older than 65 and those with underlying conditions such as diabetes, according to the news service.

“There may need to be some sort of composite score” to determine who gets the drug, Dr. Howard Huang, a lung specialist at Houston Methodist Hospital, told Reuters. “Maybe we would use it for someone who has cardiovascular disease, and a history of stroke and is older?”

The FDA has said Lilly’s treatment should not be used in hospitalized COVID-19 patients as it’s meant to keep high-risk individuals out of the hospital. But Dr. Neha Nanda of the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine told Reuters that “more conservative criteria” are needed.

“One group you could exclude is someone who has an antibody test that is positive,” she told the news agency. “I think we may need to do that.”

Experts are discussing how to handle the drug’s rollout amid a record-setting surge in coronavirus cases. The US surpassed 11 million infections on Sunday, just about a week after hitting the 10 million mark.

New York-based pharmaceutical firm Regeneron is also seeking an emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 antibody drug, which President Trump received during his battle with the virus last month.

With Post wires

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