Faulty lines of communication within the Trump administration hampered the distribution of remdesivir, a drug shown to be a potential treatment of COVID-19, senior officials with direct knowledge of the situation told Axios.
Gilead Sciences, the company that produces remdesivir, gave large quantities of the drug to the federal government after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fast-tracked its authorization as an emergency treatment for areas where hospitals are experiencing large coronavirus patient counts.
However, internal errors reportedly resulted in thousands of the doses going to “less impacted counties,” according to the news source.
“Some went to the wrong places, some went to the right places,” one senior official told Axios.
“We don’t know who gave the order. And no-one is claiming responsibility.”
The mishap reportedly stirred tensions within the coronavirus task force, with Vice President Pence calling on Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Alex Azar to take ownership of the distribution process.
The official told Axios the drug appears to have been distributed using outdated data.
Azar reportedly sought to distance himself from the mistake, even though one of his top officials, Robert Kadlec, was directly involved with distribution, according to Axios.
“But it more importantly highlights the reason why the administration continues to push a locally-executed response effort, because they [the local jurisdictions] know the data and the distribution better than the federal government,” the official told Axios.
CNN reported Thursday that doctors are unsure how they will know if they are receiving any doses of the drug.