Pharmaceutical company sets price for Remdesivir at $ 390 per ampoule

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The estimated manufacturing cost is $ 0.93

Remdesivir (Veklury) from Gilead Sciences is an antiviral agent that inhibits viral RNA polymerase and is designed to prevent the multiplication of RNA viruses in the infected cells. During the Ebola epidemic, tests were carried out on primates and finally on humans, but the drug was found to be less effective than antibody treatments.

In January 2020, remdesivir was launched as a promising drug against Covid-19 and tested on hospitalized Covid-19 patients. In one study 68 percent of the patients showed clinical improvements. Other plecebo-controlled studies have shown that patients recovered more quickly or that the infection was weakened. The remedy remains controversial, however, since mortality remains high.

Clinical tests for drug approval are still ongoing. Donald Trump campaigned for Remdesivir, the pharmaceutical company has been selling the drug for compassionate use since January, emergency approvals were granted in the US and Japan in May, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave the drug to treat Covid patients last week, that are over 12 years old and require oxygen ventilation for marketing approval recommended.

Due to the emergency approval, Gilead Sciences now has the Selling price for Remdesivir determined and thus demonstrates that profit is most important. In the United States and other industrialized countries, 5-day treatment is expected to cost $ 2,340 per patient with health insurance from July ($ 390 per ampoule) and private patients are expected to pay $ 3,120. $ 7,520 is due for 10-day treatment.

Since Remdesivir has a good chance of becoming the first drug against Covid-19 to be fully approved by the FDA, the price is set high. This could be followed by suppliers of other drugs if there is no undercutting competition. But Gilead is still top dog and wants to cash in accordingly. It is argued that patients could incur lower costs if Remdesivir reduces their stay in hospital. It is argued that patients could leave the hospital four days earlier on average, which would save $ 12,000 in healthcare costs in the United States. It is generously assured that the decision has been made to set the price “far below this value” in order to “guarantee broad and equitable access in a time of global need”.

In other countries, such as Bangladesh, where Gilead has licensed the drug to generic manufacturers, treatment could also become significantly cheaper. Even if the price goes below $ 1,000, most people couldn’t afford it.

In one report for the Journal of Virus Eradication, the manufacturing cost of remdesivir and other possible medications was estimated. At a minimum, it would cost $ 0.93 to produce the antiviral drug per day of treatment, so a ten-day course of treatment would be around $ 10, but Gilead will spend $ 7,500. Of course, this does not include research and development costs. Gielad plans to invest more than one billion in development and manufacturing costs by the end of the year.
(Florian Rötzer)

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