Gilead gives price tag to first coronavirus drug Remdesivir at $2,340

WION Web Team New York, United States Jun 30, 2020, 08.30 AM(IST)

An ampule of remdesivir is pictured during a news conference at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, Germany, April 8, 2020, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues Photograph:( Reuters )

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Remdesivir is at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 after the anti-viral treatment helped shorten hospital recovery times in a clinical trial. It has been approved for emergency use in some patients in the US.

Gilead Sciences Inc has priced its COVID-19 drug candidate remdesivir at $2,340 for a five-day treatment in the United States and some other developed countries, potentially reflecting looming competition from a cheap steroid.

The price tag is slightly below the range of $2,520 to $2,800 suggested last week by US drug pricing research group the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) after British researchers said they found that the cheap, widely available steroid dexamethasone significantly reduced mortality among severely ill COVID-19 patients.

Also read| Coronavirus pandemic: Is remdesivir actually effective in treatment?

Remdesivir is at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 after the anti-viral treatment helped shorten hospital recovery times in a clinical trial. It has been approved for emergency use in some patients in the US.

Remdesivir is expected to be in high demand as one of the only treatments so far shown to alter the course of COVID-19. After the intravenously administered medicine helped shorten hospital recovery times in a clinical trial, it won emergency use authorization in the United States and full approval in Japan.

Also read| Gilead's remdesivir prevents lung damage in COVID-19 study on monkeys

The drug is believed to be most effective in treating patients earlier in the course of disease than dexamethasone, which reduced deaths in patients requiring supportive oxygen and those on a ventilator. Still, remdesivir in its currently formulation, is only being used on patients sick enough to require hospitalization as a five-day treatment course.

The company is developing an inhaled version that could be used outside a hospital setting.

For US patients with commercial insurance, Gilead said it will charge $3,120 per course, or $520 per vial. That is a 33 per cent increase over the $390 per vial Gilead said it will charge governments of developed countries and US patients in government healthcare programs.