Administration initially dispensed remdesivir to some hospitals that didn’t need it

The first tranche of 607,000 vials of the antiviral medication remdesivir, donated to the government by drugmaker Gilead Sciences, was distributed in early May — in some cases to the wrong hospitals, to hospitals with no intensive care units and therefore no eligible patients, and to facilities without the needed refrigeration to store it, meaning some had to be returned to the government, said the officials familiar with the distribution effort…

The government’s initial distribution in the first week of May was so problematic that White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx shared fallout from state health and hospital officials with senior staffers on the task force, according to three senior administration officials. State officials had expressed anger and frustration that the government initially decided which hospitals to send the drug to without consulting them.

The missteps also raised concerns about how the government might handle the distribution of vaccines, which are likely to be in even greater demand when they become available. “I hope the experience with remdesivir has taught decision-makers to be more prepared and more strategic” about handling vaccines, said Steven Joffe, a medical ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania.