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Sturm College of Law


COVID, Weighted lottery, Public health, Health systems


Shortages of new therapeutics to treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have forced clinicians, public health officials, and health systems to grapple with difficult questions about how to fairly allocate potentially life-saving treatments when there are not enough for all patients in need. Shortages have occurred with remdesivir, tocilizumab, monoclonal antibodies, and the oralantiviral Paxlovid.

Ensuring equitable allocation is especially important in light of the disproportionate burden experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic by disadvantaged groups, including Black, Hispanic/Latino and Indigenous communities, individuals with certain disabilities, and low-income persons. However, many health systems have resorted to first-come, first-served approaches to allocation, which tend to disadvantage individuals with barriers in access to care.There is mounting evidence of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in access to medications for COVID-19.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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Copyright is held by the American Thoracic Society. User is responsible for all copyright compliance. This letter was originally published as Douglas B. White, Erin K. McCreary, Chung-Chou H. Chang, Mark Schmidhofer, J. Ryan Bariola, Naudia N. Jonassaint, Govind Persad, Robert D. Truog, Parag Pathak, Tayfun Sonmez & M. Utku Unver, A Multi-center Weighted Lottery to Equitably Allocate Scarce COVID-19 Therapeutics, 206 Am. J. Respiratory & Critical Care Med. 503 (2022).

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