Gilead Sciences has addressed the big question surrounding just how much its drug remdesivir will cost for COVID-19 treatment, after positive early trials indicated the medicine could hasten recovery during the pandemic. The announcement will come as a disappointment to anybody hoping coronavirus treatment might be given free of charge, though Gilead argues that it’s pricing remdesivir aggressively.
Initial trials of the drug indicated that COVID-19 patients could have their recovery time hastened significantly, versus those given existing methods of care. Two phase 3 trials began with patients showing evidence of pneumonia and reduced oxygen levels, but who did not require mechanical ventilation at the time the study began. That was subsequently expanded to patients on mechanical ventilation.
On May 1st, the US Food and Drug Administration added remdesivir to its Emergency Use Authorization program, as a treatment for COVID-19 in hospitals. The drug can be administered intravenously, once per day, for up to 10 days, though only in cases where people are “hospitalized with severe disease,” the FDA pointed out. Neither is remdesivir a magic bullet for curing coronavirus, with the health implications of contracting the disease still significant.