Gilead Sciences has announced the price of remdesivir as a coronavirus drug. The biotech company will distribute the product at $2,340 per patient, but advocates said the cost should be lower.
The price tag is slightly lower than estimates by the U.S. Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER). The drug pricing research group previously suggested that the company market remdesivir at $2,520 to $2,800.
The U.S. is expected to be the first country to get most of the remdesivir to help in the fight against COVID-19. Gilead Sciences reportedly agreed with the federal government to prioritize infected Americans.
Under the agreement, the company will distribute nearly all of its supply of the drug to the U.S. over the next three months, Reuters reported Monday. However, the price of the coronavirus treatment will be different in wealthier nations.
For patients with commercial insurance in the U.S., Gilead said each course of remdesivir will cost $3,120, or $520 per vial. That is 33 percent higher than the $390 per vial for people in other developed countries and Americans under government healthcare programs.
Remdesivir is currently only available for patients that require hospitalization. But Gilead plans to develop an inhaled version to treat people outside a hospital setting.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it already secured over 500,000 remdesivir courses. That supply is expected to support hospitals across the country through September.
Distribution of the initial batch of remdesivir started in May. HHS has been working with state officials to manage allocation of the drug to hospitals.
Remdesivir Price Should Be Lower
Advocates have raised concerns about the price of remdesivir amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They said Gilead Sciences should cut the cost since the drug was developed with financial support from the U.S. government.
Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett said the company provided “an outrageous price for a very modest drug, which taxpayer funding saved from a scrap heap of failures.”
Analysts at Royal Bank of Canada estimates that sale of remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment would give Gilead up to $2.3 billion revenue in 2020.