- The United States has entered into an agreement with Gilead Sciences to purchase more than 90% of Remdesivir's global offering.
- Remdesivir has been shown to help moderate-weight patients recover more quickly from COVID-19, and is just one of the few treatments that have been shown to be equally effective.
- HHS secretary Alex Azar called it an "amazing deal", but many countries have few options.
- The treatment, previously donated by Gilead, has now been valued at $ 2,340 per course for industrialized nations, including the United States.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
The United States bought more than 90% of the world's supply of remdesivir, the only proven treatment for COVID-19 that will leave little to the rest of the world for at least the next three months.
Gilead Sciences, the U.S.-based company that manufactures the drug, has agreed to sell more than 500,000 treatment courses to the U.S. by September, almost the total amount it can produce.
Remdesivir, which was originally developed to treat Ebola, has been shown to help moderate-weight patients recover more quickly from COVID-19, and was temporarily approved by the FDA in early May for this purpose.
Alex Azar, Director of Health and Human Services (HHS), said: "President Trump has made an amazing deal to ensure that Americans have access to the first approved therapeutic for COVID-19." according to a statement published by the department.
There are generic alternatives to the drug, but patent law means that only low and middle income countries can produce their own. You are prevented from selling it to richer nations like that of Europe. Sky News reported.
Gilead will sell its entire July offering to the United States and 90% of the range produced in August and September, HHS said.
Before a vaccine becomes widely available, many countries will look for an alternative after the remdesivir agreement. Vaccination attempts against the coronavirus have not yet been completed, and the earliest time that an emergency version could be available is fall or winter, as Andrew Dunn of Business Insider reported.
In the UK, an inexpensive steroid, dexamethasone, has also had encouraging results in the treatment of coronavirus.
However, the remdesivir deal called for a fairer system of global distribution.
Prof. Peter Horby, epidemiologist at Oxford University in the UK said the BBC: "It raises two very important questions: what is a fair price for a drug and what is fair access to a drug? These are common problems that are particularly important in a global crisis like this."
He also said the deal could be expected in part because Gilead Sciences is a U.S. company, the BBC reported.
There is currently a massive increase in coronavirus cases in the United States. Several states have reported an unprecedented number of infections since the ban was eased. On Tuesday, 48,000 new cases were reported in a single day, setting a new record for the fourth time in a week.
Gilead has set the price of remdesivir treatment – around 6 vials – for developed countries, including the United States, at $ 2,340. according to a statement from CEO Daniel O & # 39; Day. It had previously donated its supplies.
Brian Abrahams, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, estimated that the company would make a profit of around $ 1 billion by 2020 with the new price for remdesivir, Andrew Dunn and Lydia Ramsey planters from Business Insider reported.