Gilead Sciences has set the price for its COVID-19 drug remdesivir. The company will sell the drug to the U.S. government and other developed nations for $390 per vial. Treatment typically lasts five days and requires six vials of the medicine, resulting in a total cost of $2,340, if you are on Medicaid or Medicare.
If you are paying for the drug using private insurance, it's going to cost you a bit more. Gilead said the price for private hospitals will be $590 per vial, which would cost $3,120 for a six-vial treatment. A longer course of treatment could cost as much $4,290.
Gilead said that remdesivir, while pricey, could save people money by reducing the time they spend in the hospital.
"In normal circumstances, we would price a medicine according to the value it provides. The first results from the NIAID study in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 showed that remdesivir shortened time to recovery by an average of four days," Gilead Sciences CEO and Chairman Daniel O'Day explained in an open letter. "Taking the example of the United States, earlier hospital discharge would result in hospital savings of approximately $12,000 per patient. Even just considering these immediate savings to the healthcare system alone, we can see the potential value that remdesivir provides. This is before we factor in the direct benefit to those patients who may have a shorter stay in the hospital."
Remdesivir is the only drug that has an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to treat patients infected with COVID-19. Gilead said that it will work the Department of Health and Human Services to manage the allocation of the drug to hospitals until the end of September.
"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," O'Day said.
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