Gilead remdesivir coronavirus treatment will cost $ 3,120 for patients with private insurance

Gilead Sciences revealed its price for COVID-19 remdesivir treatment, saying it will charge $ 3,120 for patients with private health insurance. Patients who are covered by government programs like Medicaid will be charged $ 2,340 for a typical course of treatment.

The amount patients pay out of pocket depends on insurance, income, and other factors. “We are in uncharted territory with the price of a new medicine, a new medicine, in a pandemic,” Gilead CEO Dan O’Day said in a statement announcing the price of remdesivir.

Remdesivir (pronounced rem-des-eh-veer) is an antiviral medication originally developed to treat Ebola and other deadly viruses. After an international drug trial COVID-19 showed that the medication helped some patients recover more quickly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized remdesivir for emergency use in case management of coronavirus. Gilead is charging two prices for the drug in a single developed country: the United States, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“We believe we had to really deviate from normal circumstances” and price the drug to ensure broad access, rather than relying solely on value for patients, O’Day said.

The Department of Health and Human Services said Monday that it has assigned 500,000 treatment courses through September, which will be directed to hospitals based on the number of patients with COVID-19, according to a senior HHS official in a conference call with the press. . The agency secured access to the drug because it believes the drug will become a “scarce resource” and wanted to distribute it fairly to patients in US hospitals, the official said.

It is unclear what could happen in October, when the agreement between Gilead and HHS ends, and the official said the agency will oversee new therapies to treat the disease. The federal government does not plan to store the drug, but will use data on patients with COVID-19 and assign remdesivir based on that information, the official said.

Prices apply soon

The 250,000 treatment courses Gilead had donated to the US and other countries run out in about a week, and prices will apply to the drug after that. In the United States, federal health officials have assigned limited supply to the states, but that will end in September.

“We should have a sufficient supply … but we must make sure it is in the right place at the right time,” O’Day said.

Researchers Create Groundbreaking Test for COVID-19 Vaccine

In 127 less developed countries, Gilead allows generic manufacturers to supply the drug; two countries do it for about $ 600 per course of treatment.

The price of Remdesivir has been highly anticipated since it became the first drug showing benefit in the pandemic, which has killed more than half a million people globally in six months.

The price of the drug is being criticized, and consumer advocacy group Public Citizen noted that the treatment was developed with at least $ 70 million in taxpayer funds.

“Gilead did not remdesivir alone,” Public Citizen said in a statement Monday. “Public funding was indispensable at every stage, and government scientists led the early drug discovery team.”

The drug interferes with the coronavirus’s ability to copy its genetic material. In a study led by the US government, Remdesivir shortened recovery time by 31%, 11 days on average versus 15 days for those who received usual care. Survival had not improved based on preliminary results after two weeks of follow-up; Results are expected after four weeks.

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a nonprofit group that analyzes drug prices, said that remdesivir would be profitable in the $ 4,580 to $ 5,080 range if it saved lives. But recent news that a cheap steroid called dexamethasone improves survival means that remdesivir should be priced between $ 2,520 and $ 2,800.

Gilead has applied for full approval of the drug in the U.S.