COVID-19: Remdesivir to cost $390 per bottle for developed countries

Henrietta Brewer
July 1, 2020

The FDA okayed it for emergency use shortly thereafter.

"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", Day wrote.

"In the USA, while new cases are rising, they are not resulting in hospitalization at rates seen in the first half".

Supplies of remdesivir will be allocated to states and territorial health departments based on data regarding the number of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations. A senior health official said the administration has not yet decided which states would receive the first shipment. The company will sell the drug to the USA government and other developed nations for $390 per vial. "The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), a nonprofit which sets benchmarks for what it thinks are fair prices in the US, said that remdesivir would be cost-effective at as much as $5,080 per treatment course. That would mean that governments would be getting a good deal, but perhaps not private insurers in the U.S".

In a study of 53 patients who received a 10-day course of remdesivir, 68% showed a clinical improvement.

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". A longer course of treatment would cost $4,290.

According to the company, the pricing plan announced is "well below" the drug's value and showed responsibility on the part of the company. For the uninsured, payments for the treatment will be covered by provisions of the CARES Act.

US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said in a Monday statement that US President Donald Trump has "struck an awesome deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorized therapeutic for COVID-19".

"President Trump has struck an awesome deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorized therapeutic for COVID-19", HHS Secretary Alex Azar said, adding: "To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it". "So [Gilead] can not price discriminate at purchase".

"The cynic in me. expects [Gilead] will now request Medicare makes a separate [remdesivir payment] to hospitals to enable the discount", wrote Bach. He called the price "an outrage", noting that at least $70 million in public money had been sunk into the drug's development.

O'Day obviously also sees the long-term value in pricing remdesivir reasonably.

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a nonprofit group that analyses drug prices, said remdesivir would be cost-effective in a range of US$4580 to US$5080 ($6683 to $7413) if it saved lives. "While statistics on mortality has not been achieved yet, there have been trends observed and ultimately, we'd argue that there is clear precedent for drugs with mortality benefits to command prices that are many multiples higher than what Gilead is charging". "The U.S. government has authority and a responsibility to steward the technology it helped develop".

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