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Gilead facing criticism for charging $2,340 for remdesivir

Published on 30/06/20 at 10:32am
U.S. Army photo by Jason W. Edwards

Gilead has announced that it will charge $2,340 for a 5 day treatment course of remdesivir, a drug that has been proven to reduce the symptoms of COVID-19.

This comes to a cost of $390 a vial and has prompted  a backlash by multiple advocates for affordable medicine and politicians. This price would only apply to government run programs like the NHS, in the US the price could rise to $3,120 for private insurers, with the amount to be paid by the patient depending on their insurance program.

The higher cost for US patients comes after Public Citizen revealed back in May that taxpayers have contributed at least $70.5 million to the development of remdesivir, and the organization has called on the company to price the drug at $1 per day or less, which is more than the cost of manufacturing at scale plus a reasonable profit.

Peter Maybarduk, access to medicines director of Public Citizen, said it was a “display of hubris and disregard for the public” adding: “Gilead has priced at several thousand dollars a drug that should be in the public domain and has yet to show why the price should be higher.”

Bernie Sanders, former Presidential candidates and Independent US Senator, tweeted: “As a company, Gilead is now worth over $15 billion more than before the pandemic, in part because it expects to make enormous profits by charging over $3,000 for a drug they had already developed years ago. Their greed must be stopped.”

Remsdivir is currently the only drug proven to speed up recovery in severely ill COVID-19 patients. A large clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health found that the treatment shortened recovery time by four days on average although it did not reduce mortality.

Conor Kavanagh

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