Gilead Sciences, the maker of the first covid-19 treatment found to have worked in clinical trials, remdesivir, said Monday it will charge U. S. hospitals $3, 120 for the typical patient with private insurance. Soon after the announcement, the Trump administration said it had secured nearly all of the company’s supply of the drug for use in U. hospitals through September, with a contract for 500, 000 treatment courses, which it will make available to hospitals at Gilead’s price. Other developed countries will pay 25 percent less than the United States, a discount Gilead said reflects a need to make the drug as widely available as possible throughout the world. The company has licensed generic manufacturers to produce the drug for developing countries, which will receive the treatment “at a substantially lower cost, ” the company said. Gilead’s announcement settles a lingering question about a drug that has been shown to have a modest benefit but remains the only therapy authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to treat hospitalized patients with covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. A clinical trial sponsored by the government showed the drug — invented by Gilead but developed largely by taxpayer-funded agencies — sped up hospital recoveries by four days. It had no statistically significant impact on survival for covid-19 patients. Setting a price for a novel drug in the middle of a pandemic posed an unprecedented challenge, Gilead said. Cutting four days of hospital costs for each patient saves the U. health system $12, 000 per patient, the company said. Based on that benchmark, it suggested it could have justified a higher price.“As with many aspects of this pandemic, we are in uncharted territory in pricing remdesivir, ” Gilead’s chairman and chief executive, Daniel O’Day, wrote in an open letter Monday morning. “As the world continues to reel from the human, social and economic impact of this pandemic, we believe that pricing remdesivir well below value is the right and responsible thing to do. ”Gilead said it will have spent $1 billion to develop and manufacturer remdesivir by the end of 2020. Gilead invented the drug about 10 years ago when it was searching for treatments for hepatitis C but did not develop it. Later, the drug’s potential as an antiviral for emerging diseases was explored through a partnership with the government. Taxpayers spent at least $70 million developing the drug, according to advocates. An independent analysis last week by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review said Gilead could recover its costs by distributing the drug for as little as $1 to $60 per dose, or $100 to $160 per dose if all of the company’s 2020 costs are taken into account. Under Monday’s pricing, Gilead set the price at $520 per dose in the United States and $390 per dose in other developed countries. Gilead said six doses are required, while the U.
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