Roche says arthritis drug authorized to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients is in short supply

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Roche Holding AG
ROG,
+0.45%
said Monday that Actemra, its rheumatoid arthritis drug that recently received authorization in the U.S. as a COVID-19 treatment for hospitalized patients, is in short supply and will be so for weeks or months. The drug “has been widely used to treat hospitalized patients with severe or critical COVID-19 around the world, and demand for this medicine has increased to unprecedented levels globally,” the company said. Demand for Actemra in the U.S., where the delta variant is behind the recent surge in cases and hospitalizations, is “well beyond 400% of pre-COVID levels over the last two weeks alone,” according to Roche, which cited manufacturing limits, supply constraints, and the labor-intensive process of developing biologic drugs as reasons for the shortage. Roche’s stock is up 15.6% so far this year, while the broader S&P 500
SPX,
-0.82%
has gained 19.2%.

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