The Strategic National Stockpile grew by 31 million doses of various medications this weekend, as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took on donations that may, eventually, aid clinical trials or be used to treat those hospitalized with COVID-19.
To be clear, none of those medications are known to work on the disease yet, but HHS is looking for anything and everything that might prove useful. In this case, that took the form of 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate donated by Sandoz and one million doses of chloroquine phosphate donated by Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Both are oral prescription drugs approved to treat malaria and other diseases.
“Scientists in America and around the world have identified multiple potential therapeutics for COVID-19, including chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said. “The President’s bold leadership and the hard work of FDA and HHS’s Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response have succeeded in securing this large donation of medicine. We’ll continue working around the clock to get American patients access to therapeutics that may help them battle COVID-19 while building the evidence to evaluate which options are effective.”
The arrangement was made between the HHS, the companies involved, the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security. HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) hopes to work together with the National Institutes of Health to get the items clinical trials and figure out their efficacy if any. All are now operating under an emergency use authorization granted by the Food and Drug Administration.
From here, the Strategic National Stockpile will work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ship donated doses to states, as the stockpile does not regularly stock these drugs.