CVS Pharmacy

CVS Health will be administering a COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapy to nursing home residents under a new pilot program. 

The pharmacy retailer announced on Wednesday that the Department of Health and Human Services selected the company to pilot the administration of a limited supply of bamlanivimab to eligible COVID-19 patients in long-term care facilities or at their homes.

CVS Health’s specialty pharmacy and infusion care business, Coram, began administering 1,000 doses of monoclonal antibody therapies for the treatment of COVID-19 in seven cities and their surrounding communities on Thursday. The cities selected for the pilot program are Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Tampa due to rapid rises in COVID-19.

“These newly available, important COVID-19 treatments can make a difference for patients at high risk for severe illness or complications, but they need to be administered intravenously by healthcare providers, and with the appropriate clinical expertise and oversight,” Sree Chaguturu, M.D., chief medical officer for CVS Caremark and senior vice president of CVS Health, said in a statement. 

In mid-November, bamlanivimab received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for treating mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients who are at high risk of the severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services soon after announced that Medicare would cover the monoclonal antibody therapy for COVID-19 treatments, and that coverage would extend to beneficiaries in nursing homes at no cost during the public health emergency.  

In order to be eligible for the CVS pilot program, nursing home residents must not be hospitalized, be within 10 days of symptom onset, weigh at least 88.2 pounds, and be at high risk for progressing to severe disease and/or hospitalization. 

The company also said after the pilot it plans to scale the program to additional markets in areas as drug supply increases. 

“Patients can rest assured they are receiving the best care possible through Coram in the safety and comfort of their own home or long-term care facility, and Coram is poised to continue to meet shifting healthcare demands as the importance and value of home-based care will undoubtedly outlive the pandemic,” added Prem Shah, Pharm.D., executive vice president of CVS Specialty and Product Innovation.

The Trump administration in mid-October also announced a COVID-19 vaccine program after reaching an agreement with retailers CVS and Walgreens to administer the vaccines free of charge to long-term care facilities once approved.