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Pricing Debate for Remdesivir, the only COVID-19 Drug in Market

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) has published a report on the cost of the latest and only COVID-19 approved Gilead’s Remdesivir drug. On April 29th 2020, the FDA approved Remdesivir as a treatment for coronavirus, the noble cause behind COVID-19. On May 1, ICER published it analysis of the prices to the public.

Here, are some of the vital points that can be taken into consideration, gathered by us.

The current Pandemic has taken a toll on every industry, with states entering lockdown and extended lockdowns. COVID-19 had no treatment until April 29th, 2020. Since the FDA has given its approval to Gilead’s Remdesivir (previously used for Ebola), for the treatment of patients in emergency conditions with severe COVID-19 conditions, product prices have become a topic of debate throughout the world.

There are numerous factors that must be taken into consideration before evaluating the product. Gilead Sciences cannot use a high price, since the world is in a state of emergency, so the idea of ​​using the cost-effective approach should be overlooked. Therefore, Gilead will need to use the cost recovery approach, as per ICER analysis related to the price debate.

ICER asked Gilead to also use the cost recovery approach. According to them, the cost recovery model should contain a number of elements mentioned below-

  • minimum production cost of the final finished product
  • research and development costs provided by the innovator
  • research and development costs provided by the federal government
  • additional profits in addition to cost recovery.

According to our analysis, the drug should cost anywhere between $10- $4500, however, it also depends on external factors.

As per Gilead Sciences spokeswoman Sonia Choi, they have not set a price for Remdesivir. They are more focused on ensuring access to remdesivir through their donation programme. In addition, she added:” At this time, we are focused on ensuring access to remdesivir through our donation. Post-donation, we are committed to making remdesivir both accessible and affordable to governments and patients around the world.”

Whereas Johnson & Johnson indicated that if their vaccine in development is approved the company would make the first one billion doses available at a not-for-profit price of approximately $10 per dose

Therefore, it is difficult to guess the outcome of the initiated price debate. Even if Gilead uses the cost recovery approach, they will have to increase the price after a certain period because resources are limited. It takes 4 days to improve the condition of a COVID-19 patient and 10 days to recover, keeping other external factors constant. So, in the long run, the company will eventually have to raise the price and looking at their history of the $1,000 price per pill for Sovaldi, a cure for hepatitis C. and its HIV Truvada drug cost $ 22,000 a year, it’s hard to expect a low price.

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