Gilead assesses coronavirus drug at US $ 2,340 for rich countries

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The maker of a drug that reduces the recovery time of critically ill COVID-19 patients said it will charge US $ 2,340 for a typical course of treatment for people covered by US government health programs and in other developed countries.

Gilead Sciences announced the price of remdesivir on Monday and said the price would be $ 3,120 for patients with private insurance. The amount patients pay out of their pocket depends on insurance, income and other factors.

“We are in uncharted territory with the price of a new drug, a new drug, in a pandemic,” Gilead CEO Dan O’Day told The Associated Press.

“We think we really have to get away from normal circumstances” and set the price of the drug to ensure wide access rather than based solely on value for patients, he said.

The 250,000 courses of treatment the company had delivered in the United States and other countries will end in about a week, and prices will apply to the drug thereafter.

In the United States, federal health officials have allocated the limited supply to the states, but this will end in September.

“We should have an adequate supply … but we need to make sure it is in the right place at the right time,” said O’Day.

In 127 poor and middle-income countries, Gilead allows generic manufacturers to supply the drug; two countries do it for around $ 600 per course of treatment.

The price of remdesivir has been eagerly awaited since it became the first drug to show benefits in the pandemic, which killed more than half a million people worldwide in six months.

The drug interferes with the ability of the coronavirus to copy its genetic material. In a study by the US government, remdesivir shortened recovery time by 31% – 11 days on average compared to 15 days for those receiving only usual care. He did not improve survival according to preliminary results after two weeks of follow-up; results after four weeks are expected soon.

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

The drug is authorized for use in emergencies in the United States and Gilead has requested full approval.

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The Associated Press’s Department of Health and Science is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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