Covid-19 Drug Remdesivir Gets Long-Awaited Price

Signage is displayed outside Gilead Sciences Inc. headquarters in Foster City California

Gilead Sciences has said it will charge governments $2,340 for a 5-day course of remdesivir, a drug that has been shown to shorten recovery times in Covid-19 patients, Financial Times reported.

The price tag is slightly below the range of $2,520 to $2,800 suggested last week by US drug pricing research group the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) after British researchers said they found that the cheap, widely available steroid dexamethasone significantly reduced mortality among severely ill COVID-19 patients. Still, remdesivir in its now formulation, is only being used on patients sick enough to require hospitalization as a five-day treatment course.

The company estimates that it will reduce hospital costs by $12,000 per patient, as data shows that COVID-19 patients taking Remdesivir were discharged from the hospital four days earlier than those undergoing a standard treatment plan. "We have chose to price remdesivir well below this value", O'Day wrote.

The company will offer the drug at a significant discount to developing countries with low purchasing power by allowing generic makers to supply it, with two nations offering it at about $600 per treatment course, according to The Associated Press.

Japan approved the use of remdesivir for coronavirus patients in May.

These criteria are subject to change based on the availability of remdesivir and the development of patient care at hospital facilities across the state.

Gilead shares were about flat on Monday. The company balanced the decision with its "longer-term responsibilities: to continue with our ongoing work on remdesivir, to maintain our long-term research in antivirals and to invest in scientific innovation that might help generations to come", he said.

The remaining doses of the 120,000 treatment courses from Gilead's initial donated product are being shipped on Monday to states and territories, and to the Department of Defense and the Indian Health Service, the senior HHS official said.

An HHS spokesperson said that approximately 94,200 treatment courses would be available in July (100% of the available drug), another 174,900 courses by August, and 232,800 more by September.

Some advocates, including consumer-rights group Public Citizen, have said the drug should just cost $1 a day based on calculations that it could be manufactured at scale by generic drugmakers for this amount. Dexamethasone costs less than $1 per day, PAD said.

Gilead Chief Executive Officer Daniel O'Day told the outlet that was "not a realistic price point".

The company is developing an inhaled version that could be used outside a hospital setting.

However, the high price of the drug has been blasted by experts, who note Gilead developed the drug using public funding.

'The price might have been fine if the company had demonstrated that the treatment saved lives.

Some Covid-19 patients need 10 days of treatment with remdesivir, or 11 vials, which would bring the total cost up to $4,290 for government purchases, or $5,720 for commercial purchases.

After donating its 1.5 million doses of Remdesivir to the US government to allocate on an as-needed basis through the end of June, the company also announced that it will begin charging for the drug from July 1, 2020. A treatment course is 6 vials.

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