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THA honors VUMC efforts in remdesivir distribution

Oct. 14, 2020, 2:01 PM

by Bill Snyder

A team of pharmacists and physicians from Vanderbilt University Medical Center that this spring took on statewide distribution of remdesivir, an urgently needed investigational drug for severely ill patients hospitalized with COVID-19, has received the President’s Award from the Tennessee Hospital Association (THA).

The award recognizes “the outstanding and extraordinary work of an individual, team or institution,” said THA president and CEO Wendy Long, MD, in presenting the award Wednesday during the 2020 THA Virtual Annual Meeting.

Remdesivir is an anti-viral drug that, in early clinical studies, has shown promise in hastening recovery among patients hospitalized with COVID-19. In early May, days after remdesivir received emergency use approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, VUMC received the state’s only shipment of the drug.

Collaborating with state and federal health officials as well as the THA and hospitals across the state, VUMC’s pharmacists and physicians involved in the COVID clinical guidance group developed a protocol for distributing their supply of remdesivir to the patients who needed it the most.

Wright Pinson, MD, MBA, VUMC Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer and former chair of the THA Board of Directors, “opened the door for this opportunity,” said Mark Sullivan, PharmD, MBA, executive director of VUMC Inpatient and Clinical Pharmacy Operations.

With the support of Pinson and Patty Wright, MD, professor of Medicine and associate director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, the THA and Tennessee Department of Health approved the team’s proposal to oversee statewide distribution of remdesivir until a federal distribution strategy was put in place, Sullivan said.

They “worked to review and approve hundreds of applications from clinicians and coordinated transport of the drug to facilities all across the state,” Long said. “These extraordinary times called for extraordinary care, and this group of individuals stepped up to the plate to help hundreds of patients in Tennessee.”

COVIDRX team members from the School of Medicine and Clinical Enterprise Administration were Ritu Bannerjee, MD, PhD, Cody Chastain, MD, Clisby Hall, JD, Sean Kelly, MD, Todd Rice, MD, MSCI, Warren Sandberg, MD, PhD, and Patty Wright, MD.

Members from the Department of Pharmaceutical Services were Donaye Blake, PharmD, Andrea Bryant, PharmD, MBA, MHA, Garrett Crothers, PharmD, Deidra Dickerson, PharmD, Jared Gabbert, PharmD, MBA, Whitney Nesbitt, PharmD, Molly Knostman, PharmD, MHA, Bob Lobo, PharmD, Yufang Ma, PharmD, PhD, Cathy Oleis, PharmD, Michael O’Neal, PharmD, MBA, Pratish Patel, PharmD, Eric Patton, PharmD, Kevin Scharfman, PharmD, Ryan Schell, PharmD, Andrew Smith, PharmD, Jason Tomichek, PharmD, Ryan Turner, PharmD, Halden Van Cleave, PharmD, MS, and Jared Whitman, PharmD.

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