COVID-19 patients living in long-term care facilities in select cities will receive the recently authorized antibody treatment bamlanivimab through a CVS pilot program.vaccine 

CVS has teamed up with the federal government to provide nursing home patients in certain cities with a COVID-19 antibody treatment in an effort to keep them out of the hospital, says a recent article in the New York Times. The pharmacy will distribute the drug to elders in certain pre-selected cities as part of a three-month pilot program aimed to streamline the logistics of getting an intravenous COVID-19 treatment to the vulnerable elderly without requiring their presence in a hospital.

Developed by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, the treatment, known as bamlanivimab, was recently given emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. Intended for coronavirus patients who have certain risk factors and are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms, bamlanivimab is an IV drug that can only be administered by a clinician. The CVS distribution program intends to dispense the treatment to 1,000 elderly COVID-19 patients who meet eligibility standards and who reside in the metropolitan areas of one of seven pre-determined cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Tampa, Fla.

According to the Times, the participating cities were selected based on certain prerequisites, such as location, infrastructure and clinical capacity. The program will work as follows: patients in these areas who test positive for COVID and meet age and risk factor requirements can have the treatment ordered for them and be referred to Coram, the CVS home infusion unit. Once confirmed eligible, Coram nurses administer the one-hour infusion and then monitor the recipient for side effects. Bamlanivimab will be free to patients, although Medicare patients will need to have supplemental insurance coverage to cover the cost of having the drug administered.

The article states that CVS hopes that, by being able to dispense the treatment in a home setting, the program will help diminish the exposure of coronavirus patients to others in a hospital setting who are ill or otherwise immunocompromised.

Nearly a million doses of bamlanivimab have been purchased by the federal government since the FDA’s emergency authorization of the treatment. How much of an impact the limited CVS distribution of it will have remains to be seen, particularly as cases continue to rise and demand for treatments skyrockets. Bamlanivimab, says the Times, has not been universally embraced, as some heath experts feel more evidence is needed as to its safety and efficacy before it can be recommended it as a routine treatment.

In addition to this distribution program, CVS also has an agreement with the federal government to participate in the administration of coronavirus vaccines. Along with those from Walgreens, CVS pharmacists will vaccinate nursing home residents and workers, who the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently agreed should be among the first to receive COVID vaccinations.

Keeping Your Loved One Safe in Times of Crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on Pennsylvania and New Jersey nursing homes. Securing the well-being and safety of your loved one living in a Philadelphia/PA or NJ facility is of the highest priority. You should feel confident that the nursing home where your elderly loved one resides meets every health and safety requirement. If the safety or quality of care of a Pennsylvania or New Jersey nursing home during COVID-19 concerns you, or if you suspect neglect, abuse, or fraud has occurred at the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home where your loved one lives, please contact nursing home abuse attorney Brian P. Murphy to discover your legal rights and options.