Gilead Sets Remdesivir’s Price at $520 per Vial

Gilead, a biotech giant, has made an announcement regarding pricing of remdesivir – a medicine for COVID-19. It was announced that the per vial cost will be $390 for most governments, but $520 per vial for private insurers in the U.S., and a lower figure for developing nations.

This amounts to over $2,340 for a five-day treatment course in high-income nations and more than this figure in America. But still, those top-line figures are not enough to explain how much of the tab you would actually need to pay.

Remdesivir is an experimental treatment. It has been promoted as a drug that can reduced the hospital stays for patients who are and who have been seriously ill with COVID. So far it is considered a symptomatic cure for the novel coronavirus. Yet, the clinical evidence has indicated that it can reduce the number of days a patient needs to stay in hospital before being discharged. Therefore, the clinical evidence supports the speculations that it has potential to save both the patients as well as the healthcare system at the front line in COVID-19 health crisis.

Source: AFP

However, there is still a lot needs to be done to reconfirm its efficacy. This dynamic situation of pandemic and consequential shortage of medical resources for patients such as available hospital beds in hard-hit states, ventilators, and medications, has led to an emergency authorization for remdesivir use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The rush for a coronavirus treatment option inspired considerable optimism about Gilead’s prospects. SVB Leerink’s Geoffrey Porges projected that remdesivir could achieve approximately $5,000 per treatment course in the U.S. after the preliminary results.

Gilead took a moderate approach, yet it has a potential to recognize the quirks of the American health system, which allows drug companies to charge higher prices, in part because of middlemen.

“Because of the way the U.S. system is set up and the discounts that government health care programs expect, the price for U.S. private insurance companies [for remdesivir], will be $520 per vial,” wrote Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day in a public note.

He continued to say, 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 concern of patients’ expenses was never a concern for large pharmaceutical companies, insurers, and even government. It shows that their way of prioritizing, benefiting only the elites with least attention to the poor to moderate income person. However, the ongoing negotiations between a drug giant, insurers, and the government don’t necessarily mean much when it comes to patients’ out-of-pocket costs, though. This will be determined largely by hospitals as well as the insurance plans for an individual who have had COVID-19.

“Out-of-pocket costs will be determined by individual health plans. We do not expect affordability to be an issue for patients because of government efforts in place for COVID-19 patients, health care insurers, and additional assistance that Gilead will provide as needed,” the company says.

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