Gilead Sciences announced Monday that Coronavirus treatment for remdesivir is highly anticipated, stating that the cost of a typical US patient with commercial insurance will be $ 3,120.
The company announced its pricing plans in preparation for charging an antiviral drug in July. The company has handed over the doses to the US government for distribution since it received emergency use authorization in May.
Pharmacist said he will sell remdesivir for $ 390 per bottle to “developed country” governments around the world, and the price for US private insurance companies will be $ 520 per bottle. In the US, this means that Gilead will charge a lower price for government programs such as Medicare and a higher price for individuals.
“Regardless of whether you are covered by a private insurer or a state insurer, whether you are insured by Covid-19, you will not have problems accessing remdesivir,” said Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day. in an interview with Meg Tyrrell of CNBC on the Squawk Box.
According to O’Day, each medicine in the United States has two list prices due to the country’s healthcare system, adding that it maintains a pricing structure and will provide access for those who need it. According to O’Day, his government price of $ 390 per bottle was determined based on developed countries with the lowest purchasing power, in order to avoid negotiations with each country that could slow down access to the drug.
The company said it has entered into agreements with generic manufacturers to supply the drug at a “significantly lower price” in developing countries.
Gilead shares were up more than 2% on Monday’s premarket on news.
The company said that most patients receiving remdesivir will receive a five-day course of treatment using six vials of remdesivir. This will result in government spending of $ 2,340 for patients receiving five-day treatment, and $ 3,120 for commercially insured patients.
A longer ten-day course of treatment will cost the government $ 4,290 per patient and $ 5,720 for a patient in the US with private insurance.
Despite the fact that there are still no Covid-19 drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration, scientists have made some progress in reducing the recovery time for seriously ill patients with remdesivir. Given the potential for lowering hospital costs and saving lives, Gilead said its price of $ 390 per bottle is “significantly lower” than the cost of the drug.
“At the level at which we set the prices for remdesivir, and with the help of government programs, as well as additional assistance from Gilead as necessary, we believe that all patients will have access,” O’Day wrote in an open letter.
Using the drug will help hospitals save about $ 12,000 per patient due to earlier discharge from the hospital, the company said. In April, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases published the results of its study, which showed that Covid-19 patients who took remdesivir usually recovered about four days faster than those who did not take the drug.
It took the company almost two months to announce the price of remdesivir, as it received emergency approval from the FDA to treat patients with Covid-19. In an open letter, O’Day said the pricing decision was “significant responsibility” because it is the first antiviral drug effective in treating Covid-19 in a large clinical trial.
Until Monday, medicine prices were hotly discussed by doctors, medical insurance companies and investors, as he could set the bar for other drugs that would later prove effective in treating the disease.
“Remdesivir, our research treatment, is the first antiviral drug to demonstrate a better patient experience in clinical trials for COVID-19, and there is no textbook on how to evaluate a new drug in a pandemic,” he wrote. “As with all of our remdesivir activities, we have come up with the goal of helping as many patients as possible, in the fastest and most responsible way.”
Later Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it had organized more than 500,000 treatments for the drug, which it would distribute in US hospitals until September. HHS said the drug will be distributed in hospitals based on the burden of Covid-19 patients.
“President Trump made an amazing deal to give Americans access to the first authorized therapeutic agent for COVID-19,” said HHS Secretary Alex Hazard in a statement. “To the extent possible, we want any American patient who needs remdesivir to get it.”
The company continues to research remdesivir and methods for its more effective use in treating patients with Covid-19. Last week, Gilead announced plans to launch human trials for an inhaled version of the drug. On Monday, the company also announced that it continues to invest in increasing production of the drug to meet demand. By the end of 2020, the company said it expects to invest more than $ 1 billion in research and production.