The Food and Drug Administration authorized Remdesivir for emergency use in May after the drug showed promising results in early clinical trials, although the FDA has not given official approval to the drug as this normally takes years.
While it may be a sticker shock for many, "from the health system perspective, if remdesivir can shorten duration of hospitalisation by four days, then the medicine provides a reasonable value", Dr David Boulware, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota, said in an email.
Shortly after the announcement, Peter Bach, MD, director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, tweeted that drugs are bought in bulk and not based on the insurance that future patients may have.
It has taken almost two months for Gilead to announce a price for the Covid-19 drug since it received emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat patients.More news: Paul Walker's Daughter Meadow Shares Smiling Selfie With Vin Diesel's Kids
"The same focus went into the price and although this medicine adds significant value to the healthcare system by reducing the hospital days, we made a decision to price this at a very extraordinary time in a unique way", he stated. According to the company, it will continue to invest in ramping up production of the drug to meet demand. Because most patients are expected to receive a 5-day treatment course using 6 vials, this equates to approximately $2340 per patient. The company previously announced it had entered into agreements with generic drug makers to produce the drugs for developing countries.
The drug developer announced that commercial patients would pay roughly $3,120 for a five-day course of remdesivir, while those on government-led care programs like Medicare would pay about $2,340. 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.
According to the letter, $390 per vial is well below that value.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, O'Day said the USA was the only developed country to get two prices. Due to "discounts that government healthcare programs expect" the price for US private insurance will be $520 per vial, O'Day clarified. Because of the way the US system is set up and the discounts that government healthcare programs expect, the price for USA private insurance companies will be $520 per vial. At the level we have priced remdesivir and with government programs in place, along with additional Gilead assistance as needed, we believe all patients will have access.More news: Cineworld cinemas delay re-opening until July 31
Globally, over 10.3 million COVID-19 cases have been recorded.
US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said in a Monday statement that US President Donald Trump has "struck an fantastic deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorized therapeutic for COVID-19".
Once supplies are less constrained, HHS will stop managing the allocation, Gilead said.More news: Coronavirus: Entertainment firm Cirque du Soleil axes 3,500 jobs as bankruptcy looms