The United States of America has secured almost all of next few months supply of remdesivir, drug that is remarked to be the only available known treatment to work directly against Covid-19.
Remdesivir, which is currently administered through infusions, is the only drug that has an emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration to treat coronavirus infections. Until now, remdesivir treatments had been donated to the US government and allocated by the US Department of Health and Human Services and states.
The department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Monday announced that it had successfully secured all of drug-maker Gilead’s projected production for July, and 90% of its production for August and September, including more of clinical trials. Over 500,000 treatment courses of the antiviral drug were secured by HHS for US hospitals through month of September.
However, US President, Donald trump, in a swift reaction had ensured an amazing deal was struck, which allows Americans to have access to the first produce of the authorized therapeutic for Covid-19. This was disclosed by HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a news release.
The drug-maker, Gilead, had donated up to 1.5 million doses of remdeivir projected for about 140,000 courses, while close to a million doses were reserved for the US. The company has said it plans to have more than 500,000 treatment courses available by October, and more than 2 million by December, but it is unclear how these will be distributed internationally.
Reacting to this development, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday that it was investigating reports of possible hording of remdesivir by the United States.
“We’re aware of the reports in the media around this purchase or procurement of remdesivir stocks, and we’re obviously working through our colleagues and our partners and the access to Covid Tools Accelerator to clarify and verify this this report,” Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO executive director of Health Emergencies Program, told a briefing.
“Obviously, there are many people around the world who are very sick with this disease and we want to ensure that everybody has access to the necessary lifesaving interventions,” Ryan said.
“We are fully committed as an organization and with our partners to equitable access to life saving interventions,” he added.
Star Media Renaissance reported on May 29, 2020, how US President Donald Trump Announced “END” to US, World Health Organization Relationship. Dr. Mike Ryan said in spite of US disengaging with the World Health Body, “We are grateful for and continue to engage with our technical counterparts in the United States on all matters related to science and public health,”
Gilead announced in an open letter on Monday morning that it had decided to set a price of $390 per vial for governments of developed countries. A typical five-day treatment course would include six vials, which would equate to $2,340 per patient, Daniel O’Day, Gilead Sciences chairman and CEO, said in the letter.
The price for the typical US patient (those on private insurance or the government Medicare and Medicaid programs) will be $520 per vial. That’s a total of $3,120 for a five-day treatment.
The drug manufacturer has also reached agreements with five generic drug makers in India, Egypt and Pakistan, allowing them to produce remdesivir for a list of 127 mostly low-income and lower-middle income countries.
In developing world, agreements have been entered into with generic manufacturers to ensure treatments are delivered at relatively low cost. This is in consideration of the available health care resources, infrastructure and economy. Countries like Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico and many European nations are excluded from this list.