The drug developer announced that commercial patients would pay roughly $3,120 for a five-day course of remdesivir, while those on government-led care programs like Medicare would pay about $2,340. Late last month, Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen's Access to Medicines Program, made the argument that Gilead relied on help and funding from the US government to develop remdesivir.
Forbes reports that the company said in its Monday statement, that the government of developed countries, including programs like Medicare in the USA, will pay $2,340 for a typical five-day treatment course, or $390 per vial for six vials. Most COVID-19 patients would need six vials of the drug over five days, the company said.
Patient advocates like Public Citizen argue that the cost should be lower since remdesivir was developed with financial support from the USA government.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized Remdesivir for emergency use in May after the drug showed promising results in early clinical trials, although the FDA has not given official approval to the drug as this normally takes years. "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". We are aware of the significant responsibility that comes with pricing remdesivir.
Pricing per patient is "well in-line if not below the value pricing they could have charged based on $12,000 of hospital savings for early discharge".
In a statement released on Monday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that it has secured more than 500,000 treatment courses of the drug for American hospitals through September.
Gilead expects to spend about $1 billion developing and distributing remdesivir this year alone.
In 127 less developed countries, Gilead is allowing generic makers to supply the drug; two countries are doing that for around $600 per treatment course.
After this, once supplies are less constrained, HHS will stop managing the allocation, Gilead said.
"The first results from the NIAID study in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 showed that remdesivir shortened time to recovery by an average of four days", O'Day wrote in the letter, explaining the pricing decisions.
A recent ICER report found that the drug likely costs about $9.32 - rounded up to $10 - to manufacture one 10-day course of treatment.
Gilead Sciences Inc.'s move to charge less than expected for its coronavirus-fighting drug drew a debate on Wall Street, as analysts sparred over the company's ability to recoup its more than $1-billion investment in developing and making the medicine.
It is also being evaluated in combination with Roche's arthritis treatment Actemra for severe coronavirus cases.
Cipla's version is priced at less than 5,000 Indian rupees ($66.24), while Hetero Lab's version is priced at 5,400 rupees.