Genentech Anticipates Continuing Stockouts for COVID Drug Actemra

In June 2021, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the drug Actemra (tocilizumab) for the treatment of hospitalized adults and pediatric patients (2 years of age and older) who are receiving systemic corticosteroids and require supplemental oxygen, non-invasive or invasive mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Actemra is not authorized for use in outpatients with COVID-19.

Genentech recently announced that in the past two weeks alone, demand for the drug increased to 400% of pre-COVID levels and continues to increase. The next scheduled Actemra IV shipments are expected to arrive by the end of August.

In the United States, it is temporarily out of stock in its 200-mg and 400-mg dose formulations, and the 800-mg dose supply is running short, said Genentech, part of Roche. The injectable form of the drug, approved only to treat arthritis and other inflammatory-related conditions (not COVID-19), remains available.

Genentech has contracted with a network of authorized specialty distributors to service practices choosing to purchase ACTEMRA IV through the buy and bill model. Customers can purchase ACTEMRA IV through authorized specialty distributors and wholesalers that have made a commitment to product integrity. These partners have agreed to distribute only products purchased directly from Genentech and not to distribute ACTEMRA IV through secondary channels.

Distributors include:

  • ASD Healthcare
  • Besse Medical
  • BioSolutions Direct
  • Cardinal Health Specialty Distribution
  • Cesar Castillo
  • CuraScript SD
  • Humana Specialty Pharmacy
  • McKesson Specialty Health
  • Metro Medical
  • Morris & Dickson
  • Oncology Supply


Takeaway: Genentech anticipates additional periods of stockout if the pandemic continues to spread at its current pace