COVID-19 Treatment Drug Remdesivir Priced at $3100

The maker of the antiviral drug remdesivir has come up with a price for the COVID-19 treatment for insured patients.

According to NPR Pharmaceuticals Correspondent Sydney Lupkin Gilead Sciences will charge $520 per vial for patients with private insurance, with some government programs getting a lower price.

Lupkin said in a June 29th online article, a double-dose the first day, that comes out to $3,120 for the five-day treatment course. For governments in developed countries outside the U.S., it will cost $390 per vial or $2,340 for the five-day course.

U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D) Texas said the prices are 'outrageous' and the pharmaceutical company is taking advantage of Americans during a pandemic. CEO of Gilead Sciences countered by saying no matter what the cost, access to the drug will be readily available to all.

"At the level we have priced Remdesivir and with government programs in place, along with additional Gilead assistance as needed, we believe all patients will have access," Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day said in an open letter posted Monday morning according to NPR's Sydney Lumpkin.

Congressman Doggett pushed back on O'Day's assertion by reminding him that taxpayers have invested in the drug that is expected to save tens of thousands in the United States and around the world.

"Without a taxpayer investment of $99 million, this drug would have been abandoned. It would be on the scrap heap of failures," he tells NPR. "So it's the taxpayer who's really taking the risk here and ought to get the reward of the angel investors that taxpayers are."

In May, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, Connecticut, Maryland and Iowa — all states hit hard by the pandemic — received complimentary shipments of remdesivir by Gilead Sciences according to whyy.org reporter Aaron Moselle.

To date, it is not clear how many other complimentary shipments around the country the company has made.

In a written statement to NPR, Peter Maybarduk director nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen agreed with Congressman Doggett.

"In an offensive display of hubris and disregard for the public, Gilead has priced at several thousand dollars a drug that should be in the public domain,"

How much-uninsured patients would pay is still unclear.