The Netherlands confirmed on Tuesday that it had depleted its stock of Remdesivir and was in talks with the European Commission to receive new doses.
The EU executive purchases this medicine centrally and manages its distribution to EU member states, providing sufficient doses in July to treat 30,000 COVID-19 patients.
But the United States also signed a contract with Gilead for the purchase of 500,000 doses, which is almost the entire production by September.
Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Tuesday that some hospitals in his country no longer have Remdesivir, although the last delivery was on Friday.
Spain also faced the unavailability of the drug in August, but now says it has enough doses for weeks to come.
The German Ministry of Health also states that it has sufficient doses of Remdesivir for the coming months, notes Reuters, taken over by agerpres.ro.
In contrast, the UK, which is included in the EU’s procurement scheme, has streamlined its stock of Remdesivir, using the drug only in patients who need it most.
According to a transcript from mid-September, referring to a statement by a European Commission official at a meeting with health experts in the Member States, the EU executive was in talks with Gilead for a new contract “to avoid a supply gap ”And to be signed in late September or early October.
Previous acquisitions took into account the estimated need by the end of September, but in the meantime the number of COVID-19 patients and hospitalizations in the EU has begun to increase significantly.
Although the European Commission has not yet commented on the situation, according to Reuters, several officials said that new deliveries of Remdesivir are expected to arrive soon.
Studies have shown that Remdesivir reduces the length of hospital stay in severe cases of infection with the new coronavirus. This antiviral and the steroid Dexamethasone are the only medicines authorized in the EU to treat COVID-19. Both were given to US President Donald Trump, along with an experimental drug based on antibodies.
But while Dexamethasone is cheap and widely available, Remdesivir is protected by the Gilead production patent, and the price this company has set for treating a patient in developed countries is $ 2,340. On the other hand, the manufacturing company claims to have donated doses for experimental purposes and for the treatment of hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide.
Gilead also expanded production capacity and said last week that it could meet demand for Remdesivir in the US, while estimating that in October it would also be able to cover the need globally, even in the event of future waves of COVID-19.
Only four European countries are now measuring levels that are below the critical limit for Covid-19 cases, according to figures announced on Monday, as the entire continent struggles with new outbreaks.
The alert threshold of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is 20 cases per 100,000 people in seven days. Only Germany (18.4 cases per 100,000), Finland (15.5), Cyprus (14.6) and Norway (13.9) are below this threshold, ECDC data showed on Monday. At the other end of the scale are the Czech Republic (167.6), the Netherlands (140.3) and France (120.3), according to CNN. Health authorities in England have acknowledged that thousands of infections have not been included in the assessment due to a “technical problem”.
Mortality rates have also risen in Europe and there have been “explosions” of cases in 27 countries.
Meanwhile, several European countries have announced the reintroduction of restrictions.