United States buys up global supply of Covid-19 drug Remdesivir

Grant Boone
July 1, 2020

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) has announced it has bought up more than 500,000 doses of the drug.

For US patients with commercial insurance, Gilead said it will charge $3,120 for a five-day treatment course.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said the medication developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences Inc. will be used for COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms.

Already the USA government had secured almost all of the company's supply of the drug for use in U.S. hospitals through September, with a contract for 500,000 treatment courses, which it will make available to hospitals at Gilead's price.

"Health authorities will make utmost efforts to secure the treatment by cooperating with Gilead Science Korea, a local importer, to secure additional amounts of remdesivir", KCDC chief Jeong Eun-kyeong said in a press release.

"To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs Remdesivir can get it".

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The stocks make up 100 percent of Gilead's projected production for July and 90 percent each for August and September.

Each treatment course uses an average of over six vials of the drug.

After the intravenously administered medicine helped shorten hospital recovery times in a clinical trial, it won emergency use authorisation in the United States and full approval in Japan.

Remdesivir, which previously failed as a treatment for Ebola, is created to disable the mechanism by which certain viruses, including the new coronavirus, make copies of themselves and potentially overwhelm their host's immune system.

Only patients severely ill with COVID-19 are eligible for remdesivir and South Korea now has 33 such patients, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

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