Hy-Vee’s specialty pharmacies, Amber Specialty Pharmacy and Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions, have stepped in to help with treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Under a new pandemic response program, Amber and Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions are assisting hospitals and doctors nationwide in dispensing and coordinating administration of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ Regen-COV monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 to eligible patients, Hy-Vee said yesterday. The dual medication (casirivimab and imdevimab) is administered via intravenous (IV) infusion.
Amber and Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions have 21 locations in the United States and Puerto Rico, and all are licensed to administer the Regeneron antibody treatment, according to Hy-Vee. Covered by insurance plans and Medicare, Regen-COV is offered in a clinic setting or as an in-home treatment and requires a one-hour observation period.
As COVID-19 infections continue, hospitals and physicians are turning to pharmacies to help treat infected and exposed patients who are eligible to receive Regen-COV, West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee said.
“Amber Specialty Pharmacy and Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions are proud to be part of the COVID-19 response, positively impacting the lives of the communities we serve,” Kristin Williams, president of Amber Specialty Pharmacy and chief health officer for Hy-Vee, said in a statement.
Regeneron has been proven to lower viral levels and ease symptoms in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to casirivimab/imdevimab in November 2020 for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and children (age 12 and older) who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19. The medication is directed to be administered as soon as possible or within 10 days of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis for best results.
This past August, the FDA also granted an EUA to Regen-COV for post-exposure prevention of COVID-19 for adults and children at a high risk for progression to severe COVID-19 or who are not fully vaccinated or not expected to develop an adequate immune response after complete vaccination.
Amber is offering Regen-COV treatment at 19 facilities in Alabama, Massachusetts, New York, West Virginia, Illinois, Texas (three locations), North Carolina, Mississippi, Nebraska, Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Maine, Rhode Island, Virginia and California. Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions is providing the medication at facilities in Des Moines and Omaha, Neb.
The two specialty pharmacies’ response program comes as the federal government has assumed distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments to prevent potential shortages.
Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) advised seven Southern states hard-hit by COVID-19 — and with low vaccination rates — to reduce their orders of monoclonal antibody treatments. Forbes reported that those Gulf Coast states have been using approximately 70% of the nation’s distribution of the treatments, and HHS asked them to cut back their orders by about 30% because of limited supply. And earlier this week, HHS began allocating the treatments to states based on case levels and usage, according to Forbes.