Ebola drug remdesivir was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used to help coronavirus patients. The demand for the antiviral medication is surging, but it may come at a very high cost.
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), a Massachusetts-based non-profit drug price research firm, estimated the cost for remdesivir per person at $4,500.
The pricing for Remdesivir is not as of yet. Some believe that the drug may be sold at a low price of $1,000.
But, ICER said that a 10-day course with the use of remdesivir was the most effective in treating coronavirus patients in clinical trials. For that reason, the cost of the entire treatment course is estimated to be $4,500.
The research organization said :
In the case of remdesivir, the initial ICER-COVID model suggests a price of approximately $4,500 per treatment course, based on the assumption of mortality benefit from the findings from the ACCT study using a 10-day treatment course.
Based on primary estimates from Wall Street and drug research organizations, the course can cost anywhere in between $1,000 and $4,500. That would mean that the cost of the drug would be equivalent to or more than the stimulus check received by Americans in the past month.
At the estimated price of $4,500, if half of coronavirus patients in the U.S. use remdesivir, Gilead could potentially generate $2.25 billion in revenue by the year’s end.
Gilead Sciences said that it will donate its current supply of remdesivir . The supply can reportedly support 140,000 treatment courses, equivalent to around 11% of total coronavirus cases in the U.S.
For now, Gilead seems to be focused on delivering the drug to patients over the next several days. The pricing of the drug may not be released until the month’s end when all of the existing supply of remdesivir is given away.
Biotech companies in Germany, China, South Korea, the U.S. and other major countries are speeding up the process of creating coronavirus vaccines by the year’s end.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and executives in the Swiss pharmaceutical industry previously said that it will take 12 to 18 months for proper coronavirus vaccines to be manufactured and distributed.
Severin Schwan, the CEO of Roche, the world’s second-biggest pharmaceutical conglomerate, warned that a coronavirus vaccine may not be ready until the end of 2021.
Yet, pharmaceutical companies are actively allocating heavy resources in finding a vaccine. Most recently, Moderna and Swiss-based Lonza Group started testing their experimental coronavirus vaccine called mRNA-1273 with the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
An interim coronavirus drug in remdesivir could generate up to $2 to $4 billion in revenues by the end of 2020. A fully tested coronavirus vaccine, which was never made in the history of the world, could generate hundreds of billions of dollars in a short period of time.