The drugmaker behind the experimental COVID-19 treatment remdesivir has announced how much it will charge for the drug, after months of speculation as the company tried to figure out how to balance profit and public health needs in the middle of a pandemic.
In the United States, Gilead Sciences will charge $520 per vial for patients with private insurance, with some government programs getting a lower price. With a double-dose the first day, that comes out to $3,120 for the five-day treatment course. For governments in developed countries outside the U.S., it will cost $390 per vial, or $2,340 for the five-day course. How much uninsured patients would pay is still unclear.
"At the level we have priced remdesivir and with government programs in place, along with additional Gilead assistance as needed, we believe all patients will have access," Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day said in an open letter posted Monday morning.
Since then, reaction to the price has been mixed.
Some advocacy organizations and members of Congress say Gilead is taking advantage of Americans during a pandemic.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, called the price "outrageous."
"Without a taxpayer investment of $99 million, this drug would have been abandoned. It would be on the scrap heap of failures," he tells NPR. "So it's the taxpayer who's really taking the risk here and ought to get the reward of the angel investors that taxpayers are."
Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, echoed his remarks with a similar sentiment.
"In an offensive display of hubris and disregard for the public, Gilead has priced at several thousand dollars a drug that should be in the public domain," Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen's Access to Medicines Program said in a written statement.