FILE PHOTO: A blister of dexamethasone is seen during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in this image illustration taken on June 17, 2020. REUTERS / Yves Herman / File Photo
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Increasing hospital demand for steroid dexamethasone, which British researchers say significantly reduces mortality among seriously ill patients with COVID-19, is outpacing the supply of the drug, but so far hospitals have been able to treat patients from their inventories. , according to Vizient Inc, a drug buyer for about half of US hospitals. USA
Hospitals and other health care clients advised by Vizient increased orders for the drug by more than 600% after researchers announced their findings last week. Manufacturers were only able to fill about half of those orders, Vizient said.
“What we hear from our members is that they can treat patients who require dexamethasone, are treating them, and have a product,” said Steven Lucio, vice president of pharmacy solutions at Vizient, in an interview. “The concern is, can the market continue to hold this?”
Vizient’s data shows that hospitals are increasingly using the drug to treat patients with COVID-19, confirming what several US hospitals have. USA In the worst affected parts of the country they told Reuters last week.
According to researchers at the University of Oxford, dexamethasone reduced death rates by almost a third among COVID-19 patients requiring mechanical respiratory support.
The injectable version of dexamethasone has been in short supply in the US. USA Since February of last year, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. USA
Still, the Kabi unit of German drug maker Fresenius SE, by far the largest supplier to the U.S. market, says it has a good inventory available of the steroid and is increasing production at three of its U.S. factories to meet growing demand.
“Fresenius Kabi is confident that we can meet the needs of customers with COVID-related medications such as dexamethasone,” spokesman Matthew Kuhn said in an email.
Report by Michael Erman; Editing by Leslie Adler