Mar 7, 2022 - Health

COVID antibody drug too often goes unused

Illustration of a pattern of covid particles and positive signs turning into each other.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The COVID antibody drug Evusheld, which the FDA authorized in December to help protect immunocompromised people before they're exposed to the virus, is often going unused because of confusion among health care providers, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The drug, made by AstraZeneca, is seen as a critical tool for some of the most vulnerable Americans or those who can't be vaccinated — but only if they can access it.

By the numbers: About 80% of the available doses are unused in warehouses, or on hospital and pharmacy shelves, per the Times.

  • This, despite a federal database aimed to help patients and providers locate doses of the drug, which is in short supply.
  • "'We didn't get any of this,'" Leanne Cook, a patient in California, said she was told by one medical provider, the Los Angeles Times reported. "And I'm like, 'No, no, you guys got doses — I can see it on this website.'"
  • Cook ultimately got the drug, but it took a lot of work, savvy and added expense to do it, she said, per the L.A. Times.

What to watch: It's not the only COVID drug facing supply issues. The White House is confronting a COVID-19 budget crunch which forced it to delay buying more than 9 million doses of Pfizer's antiviral pill, STAT's Rachel Cohrs wrote on Friday.

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