Gilead's COVID-19 Drug Will Cost $3,120 For Patients With Insurance

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Gilead Sciences Inc.'s COVID-19 drug will cost $3,120 for patients with commercial insurance.

On Monday, Gilead Sciences Inc. unveiled its pricing plans for its COVID-19 drug remdesivir, stating that it will cost $3,120 for a typical patient with commercial insurance, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Gilead plans to start charging for the drug in July. Gilead has been donating doses of the drug since May when the US authorized emergency use of the drug. Gilead will charge higher prices for patients with private insurance and lower prices for US government health programs.

The government health program price will be $390 per dose or $2,340 per patient on short treatment plans. The longer treatment course will cost $4,290 for patients in government health programs.

Patients with private insurance will be charged $520 per dose or $3,120 per patient on short treatment plans. The longer treatment course will cost $5,720 for patients with private insurance plans.

The US is the only country where Gilead will charge two prices since other countries negotiate prices directly with drugmakers. “The logic is that we wanted a single government price around the developed world,” Chief Executive Daniel O’Day said. The price difference between government programs and those with private insurance is attributed to the discounts government healthcare programs receive in the private market.

“This medicine is priced far below the value it brings to health-care systems and that’s true for private payers and government payers,” Mr. O’Day said.

O'Day estimates that remdesivir should reduce hospital costs by $12,000 per patient. This estimate was based on data showing that each day of hospitalization costs $3,000 and that patients taking remdesivir typically leave the hospital four days sooner than those receiving standard treatment.

Remdesivir is administered intravenously. On the first day, patients receive two doses of the drug and then one dose afterward. The shortest treatment course is 5 days, while the longer treatment course is around 10 days. 90-95 percent of patients receive five-day treatment courses. Remdesivir has been the only antiviral drug to prove effective at treating COVID-19 in a clinical trial.

Remdesivir was originally created to treat Ebola patients but wasn't as effective as Gilead hoped. Gilead has spent around $50 million in research and development to explore the drug and its capabilities in treating the novel coronavirus.

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