Gilead Sciences Inc. evaluated its antiviral COVID-19 remdesivir at $ 2,340 per patient for the wealthiest countries on Monday and has agreed to send almost all of its drug supply to the United States within the next three months.
The price is slightly lower than the range of $ 2,520 to $ 2,800 suggested last week by the American drug price research group, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), after British researchers have reported finding that inexpensive and widely available steroid dexamethasone significantly reduced mortality in severely ill people. COVID-19 patients.
Remdesivir is expected to be in high demand as it is one of the only treatments to date that changes the course of COVID-19. After the intravenous drug helped shorten recovery times in a clinical trial, it obtained emergency use authorization in the United States and full approval in Japan.
The drug is believed to be more effective in treating patients earlier in the disease than dexamethasone, which has reduced deaths in patients requiring supportive oxygen and those on ventilators. However, remdesivir, in its current formulation, is only used on patients who are sick enough to require hospitalization as a five-day treatment.
The company is developing an inhaled version that could be used outside of a hospital.
For American patients with commercial insurance, Gilead said it will charge $ 3,120 per course, or $ 520 per vial. That’s a 33% increase from the $ 390 per vial Gilead said it would bill governments in developed countries and American patients in government health care programs.
“Outrageous price for a very modest drug”
In an open letter, Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day said the price was well below the value it provides since early hospital discharges could save approximately $ 12,000 per patient in United States.
Patient advocates have argued that the cost should be lower since remdesivir was developed with financial support from the United States government.
US representative Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat, said it was “an outrageous price for a very small drug, which taxpayer funding saved from a bunch of failures.”
Remdesivir had previously failed as an Ebola treatment and has not been shown to reduce deaths from COVID-19.
Gilead also said it had agreed to continue sending most of its remdesivir supply to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the agency and the states responsible for managing allocations to American hospitals until at the end of September.
There are currently more cases of COVID-19 in the United States than in Europe, with several American states setting new records for the number of cases.
HHS has been distributing the drug since May and is expected to run out after this week. A senior HHS official said the agency expects the drug to be a scarce resource soon and therefore wants to continue contributing to its allocation.
The agency said it had obtained more than 500,000 courses of remdesivir for American hospitals until September. This represents all of Gilead’s planned production for July and 90% of its production in August and September, in addition to an allocation for clinical trials, said HHS.
Once supplies are less constrained, HHS will stop managing the allocation, said Gilead. The company has not discussed its sourcing strategy for developed countries outside the United States.
The price of remdesivir has been the subject of intense debate. Experts said Gilead should avoid appearing to profit from a health crisis for its profits.
Gilead’s shares were pretty much flat on Monday.
Royal Bank of Canada analysts predict the drug could generate $ 2.3 billion in revenue in 2020, helping to offset more than $ 1 billion in development and distribution costs. They said additional benefits may be limited as vaccines and better treatments are on the horizon.
Last week, the European Union’s health care regulatory body recommended conditional approval of the drug when used in critically ill people.
Gilead has partnered with generic drug manufacturers based in India and Pakistan, including Cipla Ltd and Hetero Labs Ltd, to manufacture and supply remdesivir in 127 developing countries.
The Cipla version is priced at less than 5,000 Indian rupees ($ 66.24), while the Hetero Lab version is priced at 5,400 rupees ($ 71.54).
(This story has not been edited by GalacticGaming staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)