Remdevisir has become a popular word these days, along with Covid-19, Coronavirus, the city of Wuhan, and for a good reason. The headline in all the news, the pricing of remdevisir, has been flooding the internet, and pretty much the TV.
In the past six months, the top subject in all the world’s media has been Covid-19, which has affected all spores of societies across the globe, leaving nothing, with some countries suffering more in culture, others agriculture, politics, sports, tourism, you name one social activity, it has been affected. The pharmaceutical world has never been more under the microscope, as this pandemic came in the age of fast information travel. Certain questions arose, like who is making money out of this, are they producing the virus in a lab, is it a political conspiracy, or some hoax from the pharmaceutical lobby, or maybe a trick medical equipment industry, in any case, it was a good thing for the black market and buying ventilators from China, etcetera. We saw “Trump drinking bleach” memes, tweets about it, humor ridiculing conspiracy theorists for not wearing masks, not keeping the distance, and simply news, scary news about a lot of people dying, which in turn produced fear in people, and all eyes again turned back to the pharmaceutical industry as it is attempting to find a prevention vaccine, but also a good treatment.
Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative medicines in areas of unmet medical need has gotten to the spotlight after it was brought to the attention that the price it would sell Remdesivir, which is an antiviral product that is being studied in multiple ongoing international clinical trials, would be a many-digit-number after the $ symbol.
Remdesivir is the first antiviral to have demonstrated patient improvement in clinical trials for COVID-19, as Gilead’s boss Daniel O’Day has pointed out in an open letter about how the company has reached the particular price. He said that the company would be transparent about how the price was reached, as there is a significant responsibility for pricing it.
In special circumstances such as this of the pandemic, the patients needed help as soon as possible, and that was one of the leading pointers for Gilead to price remdesivir.
He pointed to the results from a study in hospitalized COVID-19 patients which showed that remdesivir shortened time to recover by four days on average. According to O’Day, this made savings of approximately $12,000 per patients in the USA, and has factored in the pricing decision.
“We have decided to price remdesivir well below this value. To ensure broad and equitable access at a time of urgent global need, we have set a price for governments of developed countries of $390 per vial. Based on current treatment patterns, the vast majority of patients are expected to receive a 5-day treatment course using 6 vials of remdesivir, which equates to $2,340 per patient,” he said.
This price will be offered to all governments in developed countries around the world where remdesivir is approved or authorized for use. At the current price of $390 per vial, remdesivir is positioned to achieve the aim of providing immediate net savings for healthcare systems, O’Day said in the open letter.
In the developing world, where healthcare resources, infrastructure and economics are so different, Gilead has entered into agreements with generic manufacturers to deliver treatment at a substantially lower cost.
O’Day has noted that the work on remdesivir is “far from done”. He said that they expect the investments on the development and manufacture of remdesivir to exceed $1 billion by the end of this year, and that the efforts would go on in 2021 and beyond.
He said: “As with many other aspects of this pandemic, we are in uncharted territory in pricing remdesivir.”
You can read his open letter at the company’s website, or just follow this link.
By: Pharmaceutical Daily staff