Remdesivir, an antiviral drug to be used in treating COVID-19, will cost $390 per bottle for developed countries.
The drug, which has proven effective in the treatment of COVID-19, will be sold at a higher price of $520 per vial for US private insurance companies.
Daniel O’Day, chief executive officer of Gilead Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company in the US, made this known in an open letter on Monday.
He said the cost for a patient who receives a five-day treatment course using six vials of remdesivir will be $2,340, while it will cost hospitals $3,120 for a typical US patient with commercial insurance.
On April 29, Gilead Sciences announced positive data in the clinical trial of remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19.
Three days later, the drug was granted emergency use authorisation (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The company’s chief executive officer said the price of the drug is placed below the value it provides.
According to O’Day, the company has entered into an agreement with the US department of health and human services (HHS) whereby HHS and states will continue to manage allocation to hospitals until the end of September.
O’Day added that for developing countries, the drug will be given at “a substantially lower cost”.
“Even just considering these immediate savings to the healthcare system alone, we can see the potential value that remdesivir provides. This is before we factor in the direct benefit to those patients who may have a shorter stay in the hospital,” the letter read.
“We have decided to price remdesivir well below this value. To ensure broad and equitable access at a time of urgent global need, we have set a price for governments of developed countries of $390 per vial. Based on current treatment patterns, the vast majority of patients are expected to receive a 5-day treatment course using 6 vials of remdesivir, which equates to $2,340 per patient.
“Part of the intent behind our decision was to remove the need for country by country negotiations on price. We discounted the price to a level that is affordable for developed countries with the lowest purchasing power. This price will be offered to all governments in developed countries around the world where remdesivir is approved or authorized for use. At the current price of $390 per vial, remdesivir is positioned to achieve the aim of providing immediate net savings for healthcare systems.
“In the U.S., the same government price of $390 per vial will apply. Because of the way the U.S. system is set up and the discounts that government healthcare programs expect, the price for U.S. private insurance companies will be $520 per vial. At the level we have priced remdesivir and with government programs in place, along with additional Gilead assistance as needed, we believe all patients will have access.
“Gilead has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) whereby HHS and states will continue to manage allocation to hospitals until the end of September. After this period, once supplies are less constrained, HHS will no longer manage allocation.
“In the developing world, where healthcare resources, infrastructure and economics are so different, we have entered into agreements with generic manufacturers to deliver treatment at a substantially lower cost. These alternative solutions are designed to ensure that all countries in the world can provide access to treatment.”
Globally, over 10.3 million COVID-19 cases have been recorded.
Although more than 5.5 million patients have recovered from the infection, over 500,000 deaths have been recorded.