Gilead Sciences Inc on Monday priced its COVID-19 antiviral remdesivir at $2,340 per patient for wealthier nations and agreed to send nearly all of its supply of the drug to the United States over the next three months.
The price tag is slightly below the range of $2,520 to $2,800 suggested last week by U.S. drug pricing research group the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) after British researchers said they found that the cheap, widely available steroid dexamethasone significantly reduced mortality among severely ill COVID-19 patients.
Remdesivir is expected to be in high demand as one of the only treatments so far shown to alter the course of COVID-19. After the intravenously administered medicine helped shorten hospital recovery times in a clinical trial, it won emergency use authorization in the United States and full approval in Japan.
The drug is believed to be most effective in treating patients earlier in the course of disease than dexamethasone, which reduced deaths in patients requiring supportive oxygen and those on a ventilator. Still, remdesivir in its currently formulation, is only being used on patients sick enough to require hospitalization as a five-day treatment course.
The company is developing an inhaled version that could be used outside a hospital setting.
For U.S. patients with commercial insurance, Gilead said it will charge $3,120 per course, or $520 per vial. That is a 33% increase over the $390 per vial Gilead said it will charge governments of developed countries and U.S. patients in government healthcare programs.