Pharma News for April 6, 2020


It’s still unclear how HHS plans to distribute the bulk of the $100 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, but administration officials said Friday some of it would be used to pay for treatment of those without coverage. Hospital groups didn’t immediately support plan. Instead, they prefer other methods for covering those costs, such as a disaster program or additional legislation. (Healthcaredive)

A day after the top Senate Republican announced he would press to approve another $250 billion in small business assistance — a measure supported by President Trump — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer outlined their demands for what should be in an “interim emergency” coronavirus relief bill, doubling the potential price tag to $500 billion. (NPR)

An international team of researchers has tested more than 10,000 compounds to identify six drug candidates that may help treat COVID-19. “Currently there are no targeted therapeutics or effective treatment options for COVID-19,” Professor Guddat said. Professor Guddat said the project targeted the main COVID-19 virus enzyme, known as the main protease or Mpro, which plays a pivotal role in mediating viral replication. (Worldpharmanews)

Chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are being used to treat and prevent COVID-19 despite weak evidence for effectiveness, and physicians and patients should be aware of the drugs’ potentially serious adverse events, states a review in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). (Worldpharmanews)

The DEA said April 7 it will increase limits on certain controlled substances by 15 percent, including fentanyl, morphine and hydromorphone, as well as some cough or cold medicine ingredients, including codeine, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Physicians have been running out of narcotics to treat COVID-19 patients and asked the government to raise production limits, which had been tightened to address the opioid crisis, according to the Regina Leader-Post. (Beckershospitalreview)