June 30, 2020 -- Gilead Sciences on Monday revealed how much it will charge hospitals for remdesivir, a drug found to speed the recovery of coronavirus patients by 4 days, Gilead CEO and Chairman Daniel O’Day said in an open letter on the company website.
For a patient with private insurance, Gilead would charge hospitals $520 per dose, which would come to $3,120 for a typical treatment of six doses over 5 days, Gilead said.
For patients with Medicare or other government-sponsored insurance, Gilead would charge $390 per dose, or $2,340 for six doses.
Private insurance companies are charged more because “of the way the U.S. system is set up and the discounts that government healthcare programs expect,” Gilead said.
Other developed countries that insure patients directly will also be charged the lower price of $390 per dose, Gilead said. That price was set to eliminate the need for county-by-country negotiations, the company said.
Countries in the developing world will receive generic versions of remdesivir at “a substantially lower cost,” Gilead said.
“These alternative solutions are designed to ensure that all countries in the world can provide access to treatment,” Gilead said.
In early May, the FDA gave emergency use authorization for remdesivir, an antiviral drug that has been found to shorten a coronavirus patient’s hospital stay. Peer-reviewed data indicates the median recovery time for patients who received remdesivir was 11 days, compared to 15 days for those who received a placebo.
Gilead said those shortened hospital stays should result in savings of about $12,000 per patient.
“In making our decision on how to price remdesivir, we considered the full scope of our responsibilities,” the open letter said. “We started with our immediate responsibility to ensure price is in no way a hindrance to ensuring rapid and broad treatment.
“We also balanced that with our longer-term responsibilities: to continue with our ongoing work on remdesivir, to maintain our long-term research in antivirals and to invest in scientific innovation that might help generations to come. As with many other aspects of this pandemic, we are in uncharted territory in pricing remdesivir. Ultimately, we were guided by the need to do things differently.”