Gilead gives remdesivir a colossal price tag in the U.S.

Gilead gives remdesivir a colossal price tag in the U.S.

Remdesivir is getting attention once again as Gilead Sciences has announced its price and people are getting mixed reactions about it.

The experimental drug has garnered attention last April as it tried to give hope to the U.S. markets. However, its effectiveness did not lessen the cases in the U.S.

As per Johns Hopkins University, the coronavirus cases for the U.S. alone has already reached almost 2.6 million.

Remdesivir was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but they withdrew the emergency approval this month. In addition, the state of California has pushed the reopening of Disneyland to a later date due to the surge of COVID-19.

With the drug price announcement from Gilead despite the FDA saying that they donated their supply, it doesn’t look good for American consumers but it does look good to other investors.

U.S. prices more expensive compared to other countries

As per NPR, the experimental drug is currently priced at US$520 [AU$756] per vial with patients with private insurance in the U.S. A five-day treatment would cost at $3,120 with a double-dose on the first day.

However, for governments in developed countries outside the U.S., it would cost them $2,340 for the same course pricing in at $390 per vial with the same double-dose on the first day.

Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day assured that patients will have access in an open letter posted Monday morning as per NPR:

“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.”

The company also added that the use of the drug will help hospitals save about $12,000 per patient due to earlier hospital discharge.

The remdesivir price tag raised eyebrows

However, with the current price Gilead has set for the antimalarial drug, it has left some people mixed about it. Texas Democrat Rep. Lloyd Doggett called the price “outrageous for a very modest drug,” per CNBC.

Director of Healthcare Craig Garthwaite at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management sees that Gilead will do well from a business standpoint as he told NPR:

“Gilead will make a good amount of money selling this product And that’s really the return other people have been looking at.”

CNBC also asked Meg Tirrell over a phone interview if dexamethasone can be used as an alternative in which the U.K. is also using to treat its patients.

However, dexamethasone is only administered to patients who are showing severe symptoms caused by COVID-19 and remdesivir has been the go-to drug for mild cases according to Meg Tirrell from CNBC Business News.

As of this writing, Gilead stock prices are trading at around $74.50 per share. Only time will tell if Americans would try and avail remdesivir despite the heavy price tag.

Featured image courtesy of Ivan Radic/Flickr

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