WASHINGTON, DC — In response to Gilead’s pricing announcement for remdesivir, Patients For Affordable Drugs Executive Director Ben Wakana issued the following statement:
“Today’s news proves that Gilead aims to profiteer off the COVID-19 pandemic. Gilead will realize profits far in excess of its cost to develop and produce a drug that has yet to demonstrate it will save lives. Gilead’s price for remdesivir shows once again that we can’t trust Big Pharma to act responsibly — even in the face of a global pandemic.”
Gilead announced Monday that it will sell a five-day course of remdesivir for $2,340 per patient at the global government rate and $3,120 for U.S. private insurers.
Research showed remdesivir decreased the number of days patients with severe COVID-19 needed to stay in the hospital from 15 to 11 days. Remdesivir did not demonstrate a decreased rate of mortality in COVID-19 patients.
For comparison, a low-dose steroid treatment, dexamethasone, showedpromise for combating severe COVID-19 cases and reducing potential mortality rates. The drug costs less than $1 per day.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases funded the trialthat showed that remdesivir helps to treat COVID-19 symptoms. It expects to spend a minimum of $30 million on remdesivir studies by the end of 2020. Additionally, the U.S. government funded initial research and development for the drug to combat the Ebola crisis.
Today, a new report from Patients For Affordable Drugs found that pharmaceutical companies increased the price of 245 drugs between January 20 (first U.S. case of COVID-19) and June 20. More than 75 percent of the drugs directly relate to the COVID-19 crisis. The average price increase was 23.8 percent.