Gilead Sciences Sets Price for COVID Treatment

Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Remdesivir treatment will cost approximately $3,120.

Biopharma company Gilead Sciences announced today that it has determined a pricing plan for remdesivir, their newly developed COVID-19 treatment. In May, the company received emergency use authorization for the drug from the US government, and was donating doses, but starting next month, remdesivir will be available in hospitals located in “developed countries,” in the company’s words.

According to Gilead, one vial of remdesivir will cost $390 when sold to world governments. Private insurance companies in the US will be charged $520 a vial. This means that it will be cheaper to obtain remdesivir for those on government healthcare programs such as Medicare. Based on Gilead’s estimates, a full remdesivir treatment for a statistically average US citizen with commercial insurance will cost a hospital approximately $3,120. Anyone without insurance will be covered by the CARES Act, while the cost to those with private insurance will vary depending on provider and plan.

“Whether you’re covered by a private insurer, whether you’re covered by a government insurer, whether you’re uninsured with Covid-19, there will not be an issue for access with remdesivir,” Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day told CNBC.

Credit: Ulrich Perrey/AP

While remdesivir has not been formally approved as a COVID-19 treatment by the Food and Drug Administration, clinical trials have shown that those severely ill with the disease show a reduced recovery time when treated with the drug. Gilead estimates that in the long run, treating patients with remdesivir will save hospitals around $12,000 per COVID-19 patient, as they will not be sick as long and therefore will require shorter treatment.

“Remdesivir, our investigational treatment, is the first antiviral to have demonstrated patient improvement in clinical trials for COVID-19 and there is no playbook for how to price a new medicine in a pandemic,” O’Day wrote in an open statement. “As with all our actions on remdesivir, we approached this with the aim of helping as many patients as possible, as quickly as possible and in the most responsible way.”

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