New Findings

Weighted Lottery to Equitably Allocate Scarce Supply of COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody

Peer-reviewed Publication

Erin K. McCreary, Utibe R. Essien, Chung-Chou H. Chang, Rachel A. Butler, Parag Pathak, Tayfun Sönmez, M. Utku Ünver, Ashley Steiner, Maddie Chrisman, Derek C. Angus, Douglas B. White

September 2023

IMPORTANCE Equitable allocation of scarce medications is an important health policy goal. There are few data about attempts to achieve equitable allocation in the community setting.

OBJECTIVE To describe the development and use of a weighted lottery to allocate a scarce supply of tixagevimab with cilgavimab as preexposure prophylaxis to COVID-19 for immunocompromised individuals and examine whether this promoted equitable allocation to disadvantaged populations.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS This quality improvement study analyzed a weighted lottery process from December 8, 2021, to February 23, 2022, that assigned twice the odds of drug allocation of 450 tixagevimab with cilgavimab doses to individuals residing in highly disadvantaged neighborhoods according to the US Area Deprivation Index (ADI) in a 35-hospital system in Pennsylvania, New York, and Maryland. In all, 10 834 individuals were eligible for the lottery. Weighted lottery results were compared with 10 000 simulated unweighted lotteries in the same cohort performed after drug allocation occurred.

MAIN OUTCOMES Proportion of individuals from disadvantaged neighborhoods and Black individuals who were allocated and received tixagevimab with cilgavimab.

RESULTS Of the 10 834 eligible individuals, 1800 (16.6%) were from disadvantaged neighborhoods and 767 (7.1%) were Black. Mean (SD) age was 62.9 (18.8) years, and 5471 (50.5%) were women. A higher proportion of individuals from disadvantaged neighborhoods was allocated the drug in the ADI-weighted lottery compared with the unweighted lottery (29.1% vs 16.6%; P < .001). The proportion of Black individuals allocated the drug was greater in the weighted lottery (9.1% vs 7.1%; P < .001). Among the 450 individuals allocated tixagevimab with cilgavimab in the ADI-weighted lottery, similar proportions of individuals from disadvantaged neighborhoods accepted the allocation and received the drug compared with those from other neighborhoods (27.5% vs 27.9%; P = .93). However, Black individuals allocated the drug were less likely to receive it compared with White individuals (3 of 41 [7.3%] vs 118 of 402 [29.4%]; P = .003).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE The findings of this quality improvement study suggest an ADI-weighted lottery process to allocate scarce resources is feasible in a large health system and resulted in more drug allocation to and receipt of drug by individuals who reside in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Although the ADI-weighted lottery also resulted in more drug allocation to Black individuals compared with an unweighted process, they were less likely to accept allocation and receive it compared with White individuals. Further strategies are needed to ensure that Black individuals receive scarce medications allocated.