Drug pricing review group raises recommended price for Gilead's remdesivir

Henrietta Brewer
July 1, 2020

Gilead Sciences has announced that it has planned clinical trials to test its potential COVID-19 therapeutic, remdesivir, in an inhaled formulation. Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorisation for the drug. Amidst this, several studies have found that anti-viral drug Remdesivir could be used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The course of drugs was the first to display improvement during the trials on coronavirus patients and has gotten consent for urgent use in seriously ill patients in the US and South Korea, and got full approval in Japan.

20,000 vials of the COVID drug have been sent to the five worst-hit states. Hetero also clarified that the drug will be sold only through hospitals and government and not through retail outlets.

The research, published in leading journal, the New England Journal of Medicine, in May, showed that injections of remdesivir sped up patient recovery compared with a placebo. This drug is indicated for use in early to moderate COVID-19 patients.

"As part of our next wave of clinical development, we will study remdesivir in treating earlier in the disease, in combination with other therapies and in additional patient groups".

In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, rubber stoppers are placed onto filled vials of the investigational drug remdesivir at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States. The first SIMPLE study investigated the safety and efficacy of 5- and 10-day dosing durations of intravenous remdesivir in hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19. Remdesivir was being developed as a treatment for Ebola, but recent trials found it effective against COVID-19.

Gilead will also attempt IV infusions in other settings aside from hospitals, like at nursing homes, with the aim of avoiding the need for hospitalisation.

However, the drug is still not licensed or approved anywhere in the world, according to an earlier statement by Gilead. Fellow Indian drug firm Cipla Ltd had said on Tuesday that its own version of the antiviral drug remdesivir would be priced below 5,000 rupees.

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