Among the treatments for COVID-19 right now, remdesivir is one of the few that has been observed to improve recovery. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has already approved its emergency use amid the pandemic. In the meantime, many are interested to know how much it would cost once the drug becomes widely available for distribution. Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer, finally revealed the pricing which shows the different rates it will charge the health insurance groups as well as the U.S. federal government.

This was made public after the medication received conditional approval in Europe. The announcement was made by Daniel O'Day, the CEO and chairman of the biopharmaceutical group. It was indicated that for private insurers, it would be offered at $3,120 for a six-vial treatment, which is approximately $520 per vial. Meanwhile, government healthcare platforms will be paying $2,340 for one course or $390 per vial.

He noted that "in normal circumstances, we would price a medicine according to the value it provides. The first results from the NIAID study in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 showed that remdesivir shortened time to recovery by an average of four days." All other alternatives have been confirmed to have little to no effect against COVID-19. However, dexamethasone, a drug highlighted by Oxford University seems to be another candidate being considered for its effects on the risk of death among patients.

O'Day later added that "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 inhalation treatment eyed by Gilead Sciences
Remdesivir, an antiviral made by Gilead Sciences, was shown in a major clinical trial to shorten the time to recovery in some coronavirus patients POOL / Ulrich Perrey

The company also pointed out that developing countries can have access to treatments "at a substantially lower cost." Gilead Sciences hopes to secure more than two million remdesivir treatment courses before 2020 ends. Results from studies show that the drug can shorten the recovery period from 15 to 11 days. This would allow hospitals to accommodate more COVID-19 patients.