Drug giant Gilead Sciences (GILD) - Get Report on Monday said it will price its Covid-19-fighting drug remdesivir at $2,340 for a five-day treatment, well below what it says would be market prices for the drug.
In an open letter, CEO Daniel O’Day said Gilead will provide remdesivir “well below” the value that it has so far proven to provide in treating patients afflicted with Covid-19, the respiratory illness contracted through exposure to the novel coronavirus.
“In normal circumstances, we would price a medicine according to the value it provides,” O’Day said in the letter. However, “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.”
Remdesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral medication administered via injection that has proven effective at helping patients with severe symptoms of Covid-19 recover. While Gilead has received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, it has not yet been formally approved as a coronavirus treatment.
Based on current treatment patterns, the vast majority of patients are expected to receive a five-day treatment course using six vials of remdesivir, which equates to $2,340 per patient, O’Day said.
“Even just considering these immediate savings to the healthcare system alone, we can see the potential value that remdesivir provides,” O’Day said. “This is before we factor in the direct benefit to those patients who may have a shorter stay in the hospital.”
Earlier this month Gilead said it was starting Phase 1 trials of an inhaled version of remdesivir after receiving the go-ahead from the FDA.
The Foster City, Calif.-based company expects to have more than 2 million remdesivir treatment courses manufactured by the end of the year with "many millions more" produced by 2021.
Shares of Gilead were up 2.08% at $76.12 in trading on Monday.