GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Some healthcare professionals across South Carolina are raising concerns about what they call a dwindling supply of an experimental drug to treat COVID-19.

An experimental treatment medical professionals like Dr. Edwin Hayes told 7 News has shown to be somewhat effective.

“I do think it has a place in treatment and it’s something I’ve been giving to many of my patients,” said Infectious Disease Physician with Prisma Health, Dr. Edwin Hayes.

Remdesivir is a drug that Dr. Hayes told us slows down the progression of COVID-19. But he told us he’s concerned about the supply and the demand for the drug for future patients.

“We have only so much supply to meet the demand in the community. The volume of cases is growing exponentially and the amount of people requesting Remdesivir is going up,” Dr. Hayes said.

The company that manufactures Remdesivir gave each state its own supply of the drug. It was then given out to healthcare facilities across the state as patients met the criteria for the drug. State health officials told us they now have enough for 191 patients, that’s 1,146 vials.

Dr. Hayes suspects they will need to turn to a much costlier option as early as next week.

“This drug is terribly expensive, you’re looking at easily $2,000-$3,000 per dose in five days of treatment,” Dr. Hayes told us.

His employer isn’t alone. Spokespeople with AnMed and Bon Secours health systems told us they’re purchasing the drug.

However Dr. Hayes said there’s one more major drawback to doing just that, other than the hefty price tag. That’s getting the treatment in time. He told us the treatment is most effective when administered early.

“That’s going to be a more limited, slow trickle of supply and if the volume of patients continue to increase, it’s going to be very difficult to make sure every patient can get that drug and get that drug in a timely manner,” Dr. Hayes said.

The state health department has received 14,840 vials or approximately 2,473 patient treatment courses. A spokesperson there told us how long their inventory lasts depends on the number of requests they get each day.

That spokesperson with DHEC also told us their department planned to buy three cases of the treatment to have on hand in case of a surge. However, they say it’s now up to hospitals to purchase the medication.

You can find additional details from DHEC below:

  • South Carolina has not run out of its donated supply of Remdesivir.  How long our inventory lasts is dependent on the number of requests we receive each day.  If SC hospitals receive their direct Remdesivir shipments tomorrow, we do not anticipate gaps in providing this treatment to patients who meet treatment criteria.
  • The state has received 14,840 vials or approximately 2473 patient treatment courses
  • DHEC intended to purchase 3 cases of Remdesivir to have on hand for surge distribution as needed.  We have been advised that due to the contract between the manufacture and the U.S. Government, state health departments are prohibited from purchasing any of the medication. Remdesivir may only be purchased by the hospitals.