The maker of a drug that has been shown to shorten the recovery time of critically ill COVID-19 patients says it will charge $ 2,340 for a typical treatment course for people covered by government government programs in the United States and other developed countries.
Gilead Sciences announced the price for remdesivir Monday and said the price would be $ 3,120 for patients with private insurance. The amount that patients pay out of pocket depends on insurance, income and other factors.
“We are in unfamiliar territory with the pricing of a new drug, a new drug, in a pandemic,” Gilead CEO Dan O’Day told The Associated Press.
“We believe we should really deviate from normal conditions,” and praise the drug to ensure wide access, rather than based solely on patient value, he said.
The 250,000 treatment courses the company has given to the U.S. and other countries will run out in about a week, and prices for the drug will apply after that.
In the U.S., federal health officials have allocated the limited offer to states, but that ends in September.
“We should have enough supply … but we need to make sure it’s in the right place at the right time,” said O’Day
In 127 poor or middle-income countries, Gilead allows generic producers to supply the drug; two countries do that for about $ 600 per treatment course.
The price of Remdesivir has been long awaited since it was the first drug to benefit from 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 U.S. government-led study, remdesivir reduced recovery time by 31% – an average of 11 days versus 15 days for those who received usual care. According to preliminary results, survival after two weeks of follow-up had not improved; results after four weeks are expected soon.
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a non-profit organization that analyzes drug prices, said that brake desivir would be cost effective in a range of $ 4,580 to $ 5,080 if it saved lives. But recent news that an inexpensive steroid called dexamethasone improves survival means that brake desivir should be priced between $ 2,520 and $ 2,800.
The drug is licensed for emergency use in the U.S., and Gilead has applied for full approval.
Marilynn Marchione can be followed on Twitter: @MMarchioneAP
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