After weeks of waiting, Gilead Sciences announced yesterday that it will charge U.S. insurers $3,120 for a six-vial, five-day course of remdesivir, and a lower price of $2,340 for governments of developed countries, including the U.S.
“In normal circumstances, we would price a medicine according to the value it provides. We have decided to price remdesivir well below this value,” said Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day.
O’Day said the antiviral helps hospitals and coronavirus patients save money because it leads to earlier discharge, claiming it saves U.S. hospitals approximately $12,000 per patient. The drug shortened recovery time by four days on average according to initial results from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID) clinical trial.
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) estimated that the drug would be cost-effective at between $2,520 and $2,800, which is above the government price and not too far below the price for U.S. private insurers.
Also on Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it has reached a deal with Gilead to distribute supplies of the drug for hospitals and research until the end of September. Now that Gilead has set a price for remdesivir, the drugmaker will no longer donate remdesivir to the government as it previously did, and HHS said it has shipped out the final stock of approximately 120,000 donated treatment courses.
The department said the new distribution arrangement will stock hospitals with more than 500,000 treatment courses of the drug and also help to supply clinical trials.
HHS noted that it will streamline the delivery of purchased remdesivir, shipping it directly to hospitals selected by the states rather than sending it to state health departments for delivery to hospitals.
Gilead said that HHS will continue to manage distribution of remdesivir until the end of September, after which the distribution will depend on the status of the drug’s approval. Currently, the drug is being distributed under the terms of an Emergency Use Authorization and hopes to get approval of the drug later this year. An HHS spokesperson said the federal government “will maintain its current role and responsibilities unless the terms and conditions of the [Emergency Use Authorization] change.” — James Miessler