Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes joined a bipartisan coalition urging the federal government to increase the access and affordability of remdesivir, a drug that has been shown to have positive effects on coronavirus patients.
Reyes signed a letter sent to the Food and Drug Administration, Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health asking for them to use their legal authority to help get the drug to more people affected by COVID-19.
“Even though remdesivir is not a miracle cure for COVID-19, it does show promise in reducing the severity of symptoms and shortening hospital stays,” Reyes said in a statement. “Given that glimmer of hope, I feel the drug should be accessible to as many people as possible, under the care of their doctor. Until a vaccine is available, this appears to be one of our best courses of action.”
A total of 34 attorneys general from U.S. states and territories signed the letter.
Remdesivir has received “substantial federal funding” and been “fast-tracked” by the FDA, the letter reads. It goes on to say that the drug’s manufacturer, Gilead, cannot make sure there’s a sufficient supply, which is “dangerously limited.”
The letter asks the FDA and NIH specifically to use the Bayh-Dole Act, which gives the two departments power to license remdesivir to third-party manufacturers to increase production and distribution.
“If these agencies are unwilling to exercise this authority, the states request that the agencies assign this authority for the states to use,” the attorney general’s office stated. “The bipartisan coalition stands ready to ensure that drug manufacturers are licensed to meet market demand during this public health crisis.”