HHS on Thursday announced that the federal government is no longer overseeing the distribution Gilead Science's remdesivir, which is an experimental treatment for Covid-19, because supplies of the drug have increased and demand for the medication has fallen, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Michigan, and Wisconsin
- District of Columbia: HHS on Thursday announced that the federal government is no longer overseeing the distribution of Gilead Sciences' antiviral drug remdesivir, which has received an emergency use authorization from FDA as an experimental treatment for Covid-19. HHS said it has ceased overseeing the drug's distribution because supplies of the medication have increased over the past few weeks, and demand for the treatment has fallen. Instead, as of Oct. 1, hospitals could begin purchasing remdesivir directly from Gilead, HHS said. Johanna Mercier, Gilead's chief commercial officer, during a recent call with reporters said, "There is enough supply on hand to treat every existing [Covid-19] hospitalization in the [United States] and ample supply even if incidence surges" (Walker, Wall Street Journal, 10/1; Kacik, Modern Healthcare, 10/1).
- District of Columbia: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Saturday announced that the full Senate would not reconvene until Oct. 19, after three Republican senators announced that they tested positive for the novel coronavirus. McConnell said postponing the Senate's return would not disrupt plans to move forward with proceedings on President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, before the upcoming presidential election. A spokesperson for the Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday said the panel intends to start four days of scheduled hearings on Barrett's nomination on Oct. 12, as previously announced (Edmondson, New York Times, 10/3).
- Michigan/Wisconsin: Advocate Aurora Health and Beaumont Health have ended their discussions regarding a potential merger just about four months after they first announced their intent to merge. The health systems began discussions about the potential merger in 2019 but put those talks on hold in early 2020 as they grappled with America's coronavirus epidemic. The health systems further delayed the discussions in August, after Beaumont Health providers petitioned against the potential deal and raised concerns. John Fox, Beaumont's president and CEO, in a statement issued Friday said, "We continue to have a very high regard for Advocate Aurora Health. But, at this time, we want to focus on our local market priorities and the physicians, nurses, and staff who provide compassionate, extraordinary care every day." Jim Skogsbergh, president and CEO of Advocate Aurora Health, in the statement said, "We have great respect for Beaumont Health, and we continue to believe scale will play a critical role in advancing quality, accelerating transformation, and reducing cost in the health care world of tomorrow" (Greene/Kacik, Crain's Detroit Business/Modern Healthcare, 10/2; Pifer, HealthcareDive, 10/2; Advocate Aurora Health/Beaumont Health statement, 10/2).