The drug that Gilead Sciences Inc. produced, remdesivir, would cost approximately $3,120 for a typical patient of the coronavirus.
Accessible price tag
On Monday, the company revealed its pricing of the drug as it begins to take payments for the drug starting July after weeks of donating it to hospitals, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Since the drug's authorization for emergency use last May, the United States has been distributing remdesivir that Gilead had donated to fight off the coronavirus pandemic.
The drugmaker plans to charge a much higher price for the drug to most patients in the US and at a lower cost to the rest of the world as governments continue to negotiate prices.
While Gilead will distribute the lower price tag to a few US government agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, this would not be delivered to programs like Medicare and Medicaid who do not purchase medicine directly, said one spokesman for Gilead.
The US government would be paying $390 per dose of the drug, or $2,340 for a patient who undergoes the shortest treatment course, and up to $4,290 for the longer treatment course.
Gilead stated it would charge non-government US buyers, including hospitals approximately $520 per dose of the drug, nearly 33% more of the price provided to governments for patients who possess commercial insurance. The cost would end up at around $3,120 for the shorter treatment course and up to $5,720 for the longer treatment course.
According to CNN, remdesivir is administered through infusions and is the only drug that the United States' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for emergency use against the coronavirus infection.
The donations of the drug handed out by Gilead had been distributed by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) along with several states. The last shipments of the donations, however, have just run out.
Gilead Sciences chairman and CEO, Daniel O'Day, said the company aimed to bring the drug to as many patients as possible, and in the shortest time, they are able in the most responsible way. Their objective has been the focal point of their efforts in finding ways to produce a drug that could be used against the pandemic.
O'Day added that the company's price would make it accessible to all patients if government programs are in place. The CEO noted that Gilead is working with the US HHS, who will monitor the distribution of the drug across the country.
On Monday in an appearance on "Good Morning America," Alex Azar, the secretary of HHS, announced the agreement with Gilead.
Azar also told reporters that United States President Donald Trump had gathered half a million remdesivir treatment courses that would last until September.
The secretary noted that with remdesivir, patients who are hospitalized due to the coronavirus could be discharged earlier by approximately one-third of the usual time. Azar also said that the drugmaker is ensuring that the hospitals that most need the drug are given enough supplies.