Remdesivir : the treatment will cost 2340 dollars in the United States, announces the laboratory Gilead



SUM – The laboratory Gilead, the patent holder of the Remdesivir, an antiviral drug considered as a treatment of the Covid-19, has set its cost to 2340 dollars (2076 euros) for an individual treatment of five days. A sum of “widely available,” according to the lab, but that the announcement effect acts as a “bluff” according to a former head of the drug Agency.

Hope for the gravely ill by the coronavirus, but at what price ? The european medicines Agency has recommended Thursday 25 June to allow the antiviral Remdesivir as the first drug against the Covid-19 in the United States. A treatment to be administered during five days, depending on the laboratory Gilead and its CEO in an open letter, cost the modest sum of 2.340 dollars in total per patient (approximately 2.076€). A price, dixit Gildead, “for the developed countries of the world, to create a model for the same price“.

According to Gilead, the treatment with Remdesivir would save on average $ 12,000 per patient, thanks to four days of hospitalization that it can avoid. Wanting to make it “widely available“the company has therefore decided to charge below the said $ 12,000, says the CEO. The price for the insured americans in the private sector will not be the same, slightly higher, at $ 3120 dollars. The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, an organization that evaluates the prices of drugs, was recommended to fix the price of the remdesivir between 2520 and 2800 dollars.

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“The firm does not impose his price,” according to the former head of the Agency of the drug

The biotech in the us has indicated that this price would be the same for all developed countries. However, according to Jean-François Bergmann, former head of the drug Agency, called for this Tuesday by LCI, Gilead is “bluff“by announcing such an award : “In the United States, the prices are free, so Gilead is perfectly free to sell it and people buy it at about 2000 euros. But in France and in Western Europe, the prices are regulated“he says. “This is not the firm that sets the price but the Economic Council of Health Products after an opinion on the quality and quantity of the facts of the drug. This drug has a moderate effect, it will have a moderate price.”

In fact, the effectiveness of the remdesivir remains unspectacular : it increases the duration of recovery of the hospitalized patients from 15 to 11 days on average, and there was no evidence of benefits in terms of mortality reduction. “A drug way that works a little bit, which somewhat reduces the duration of symptoms and very discreetly mortality“, summarizes Jean-François Bergmann. “It only works in cases of serious but not too serious : in patients in the icu, it does not work ; in patients who did not require oxygen, it does not work… The target and the number of patients that can be treated is still rather limited.”

In other words, this treatment is only used in very few cases, and its cost in France will be proportional to its use : “There is a national stage of price negotiation that is done in all the countries of Europe and I am absolutely certain that in France, this will not be a cash prize of 2000 euros.” As well as, “overall, the medication european are roughly half the price of the medicines in north america. So to say that it will cost 2000 euros (in France) remains of the order of anticipation on something that will not happen.” It nonetheless remains an expensive treatment, but “proportional to the profit“, “the treatment is useful in only a tiny part of the sick“.


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Not a “vaccine” but “vaccines”

Manufactured by the laboratory Gilead, the Remdesivir had been initially developed – in vain – against the Ebola hemorrhagic fever. This antiviral drug experimental that has not yet been approved by the FDA but has received authorization for emergency use is promoted by the United States, which had officially announced end of April that it would reduce the time of recovery of the sick. The publication of this research at the end of may in the review New England Journal of Medicine has confirmed these assertions. Last week, the european medicines Agency has recommended its placement on the trade.

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Also, beyond of the promises by the Remdesivir, for the time being, are there interesting leads, in parallel, to preventative treatments ? “On the fact of giving a treatment early to prevent the catch or for the symptoms are the most minimal possible, there is nothing, as is often the case in viral diseases. All of the treatments, such as hydroxychloroquine, had proved negative, they don’t work. I don’t think that you will not find at this level early in the disease.” For the vaccine, even if the mobilisation is global“this is not for any of the following” he continues, even if he concedes that “this advance in all directions. I don’t think we will have a vaccine, but vaccines.”

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