Coronavirus treatment Remdesivir to cost $3,120 for US patients with private insurance

On Monday, Gilead Sciences Inc. announced its pricing plans for the coronavirus drug Remdesivir, stating it will charge hospitals $3,120 for a patient in the United States with private insurance.

“There is no playbook for how to price a new medicine in a pandemic,” Daniel O’ Day, chairman & CEO of Gilead Sciences said in an open letter. “We approached this with the aim of helping as many patients as possible, as quickly as possible and in the most responsible way.”

The drugmaker announced the price would be set to $390 per vial for governments of developed countries. But because of “the way the U.S. system is set up and the discounts that government healthcare programs expect,” the price would be adjusted to $520 per vial for U.S. private insurance companies.

RELATED: Study: Remdesivir prevented disease progression in monkeys with COVID-19

Based on current treatment patterns, the majority of patients are expected to receive a five-day treatment course using six vials of remdesivir, which equates to $3,120 per patient with private insurance. Uninsured individuals will be covered under provisions of the CARES Act.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that it has secured 500,000 treatment courses of the drug for American hospitals through September. “President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorized therapeutic for COVID-19,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

Remdesivir is an antiviral product that is being studied in multiple ongoing international clinical trials. In May, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted remdesivir an Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment of hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19.

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Gilead began distributing and donating the drug to the U.S. in May. According to O’Day, this donation period is set to expire at the end of June. Starting in July, the company will start charging for the antiviral drug.

The pharmaceutical company believes that its pricing is well below value. O’Day wrote, “We started with our immediate responsibility to ensure price is in no way a hindrance to ensuring rapid and broad treatment.”

In April, a study by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases showed that remdesivir shortened the time of recovery by an average of four days.

“As we accumulate more data from global clinical trials and initiate many additional studies, we will understand more about the full value of remdesivir over time,” O’Day wrote.

This new pricing comes as coronavirus cases spike in states like Texas, Arizona and Florida.