A national supply shortage for the most widely used COVID-19 treatment could have a serious effect on North Dakota.
Places like Sanford Health in Bismarck use the monoclonal antibody treatment on a daily basis to treat patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
“It’s for those patients who have tested positive right now who may have some risk factors. Whether it’s immune-compromised, diabetic, things like that, who are at a high risk that if the virus did continue to proliferate they would have a much tougher course,” said John Savageau, the Pharmacy Director for Sanford Health.
North Dakota Department of Health says there are two main factors for the nationwide shortage: limited supply and an increase in demand.
Instead of going straight to the distributor, providers will now be allocated a weekly supply from the state health department.
“Each state will receive based on its utilization rate in the past and that will be determining how much monoclonal antibodies we will be receiving. That process was put into place last year when monoclonal antibodies were first introduced,” said Tim Wiedrich, the Section Chief for Health Resources and Response for the NDDoH.
For its first allotment, North Dakota is set to receive 380 courses — which will be enough to treat 380 people.
But with cases continuing to rise each day, Wiedrich says it’s concerning for the future.
“We’re very concerned about this situation. We’re anticipating that we will in fact run out, that the amount being consumed in the state will exceed what the allocation is. So this is a very difficult circumstance,” said Wiedrich.
Wiedrich says the amount could fluctuate on a weekly basis depending on availability.
Wiedrich says if the treatment is unavailable people should consult with their medical provider about alternative treatments.