Gilead Dragged for "Price-Gouging" New COVID-19 Treatment

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The longer 10-day treatment course will cost governments $4,290 per patient and $5,720 for a United States patient with private insurance.

In the developing world, "where healthcare resources, infrastructure and economics are so different", the product will be delivered through generic manufacturers at a "substantially lower cost".

Now some are questioning how affordable the drug really is.

During a Monday interview with CNBC's "Squawk Box", O'Day pointed to those second wave of clinical development investments as part of Gilead's "dual responsibility" alongside access.

These prices, O'Day argued, were "well below" the company-estimated value of the drug, which includes savings to hospitals of roughly $US12,000 ($17,510) per patient.

In one scenario, the drug could cost up to $5,080 per treatment course if it significantly reduces mortality, according to The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review.

"We wanted to make sure that nothing gets in the way of remdesivir getting to patients", Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day said.

"We believe this is generally in line with expectations, though below the original ICER estimate of $4,500 and some recent more bullish estimates; Gilead also appears to have done a more careful job articulating the rationale for pricing than in the past with HCV".

The Trump administration will secure access to more than 500,000 treatment courses of the investigational COVID-19 agent remdesivir for distribution within the USA, a senior official at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced during a press call on Monday.

The US biotech group said government healthcare programmes in developed markets globally would be charged a flat fee of $390 per vial for the drug.

The Department of Health and Human Service announced an agreement on Monday to secure more than 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir through September. After years of pressure from HIV/AIDS activists, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sued Gilead last fall, alleging that the company raked in billions in profit off a drug created through taxpayer-funded medical research with no return to taxpayers.

Private insurers in the USA would be charged a higher rate of $520 per vial, bringing the cost for a typical patient with commercial insurance to $3,120.

In the U.S., Truvada costs between $1,600 and $2,000 a month - or $70 per daily pill - while other countries need only pay a couple of dollars a month, according to the outlet. To ensure broad and equitable access at a time of urgent global need, we have set a price for governments of developed countries of $390 per vial.

Gilead has set a price of $US390 ($569) per vial for governments of "developed countries", a price the company says will help avoid country-by-country price negotiations that could delay access.

"There is no playbook for how to price a new medicine in a pandemic", O'Day said in the letter. "In normal circumstances, we'd have priced this medicine in accordance with value".

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