Gilead has yet to set a price for the coronavirus treatment remdesivir, but an influential drug pricing watchdog says it could be worth up to $4,500 per patient (GILD)
Gilead Sciences could be justified in charging up to $4,500 per coronavirus patient for its drug, a nonprofit pricing watchdog said in a recent report. The California biotech is the maker of remdesivir, an experimental antiviral treatment that helped hospitalized COVID-19 patients recover 31% faster, shaving four days off hospital stays. The company has yet to give a pricing strategy for remdesivir, beyond pledging to donate its current supply of the drug. One Wall Street analyst calculated that Gilead could make $1 billion in 2020 by selling remdesivir at a $1,000 price tag, which he called "pretty reasonable." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
While the big biotech Gilead Sciences has yet to outline its sales plan for the first effective coronavirus treatment, an influential drug pricing group has calculated the drug is worth up to $4,500 per patient. The experimental antiviral called remdesivir was authorized for emergency use in the US on Friday, after a trial showed patients on the drug recovered 31% faster than those on a placebo. That translates to shaving four days off the typical hospital stay among these patients. It is the first drug to show a clinical benefit for COVID-19 patients in a high-quality randomized study. The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) is a Boston-based nonprofit that analyzes drug pricing. The pharma industry regularly clashes with ICER, criticizing its models for being too rigid. The group often finds drugs to be overpriced compared to their value in the healthcare system. But in the case of remdesivir, ICER said Friday a price of up to $4,500 per treatment course is justified for remdesivir. The organization cautioned its findings are based on preliminary data that may change over time. ICER's analysis is focused on list prices for drug, which do not take into account rebates or discounts offered by drug companies. "We are releasing these estimates now, despite the fact that the evidence is highly uncertain and evolving, because now is the time when the public and policymakers should be actively debating how to link pricing to an overall platform to develop treatments for COVID-19," said Steven Pearson, ICER's president, in a statement. "The consequential discussion about the tradeoffs and priorities involved with different pricing approaches cannot wait." But the California biotech has called it too early to set a long-term pricing strategy. So far, the company pledged to donate its current supply of remdesivir, which amounts to 140,000 treatment courses. The pricing question has become a top uncertainty among many investors and Wall Street analysts. "The fact that ICER is typically conservative in all their analyses, and yet they can justify up to $4,500, seems pretty interesting," Jefferies biotech analyst Michael Yee wrote in a Sunday note to investors. Read more: Gilead plans to spend up to $1 billion to ramp up manufacturing of its coronavirus treatment, but execs dodged Wall Street's questions about turning a profit Using a placeholder of a $1,000 price, Yee estimated Gilead could make $1 billion on remdesivir by the end of 2020 if it sells 1 million treatment courses in the US and internationally. A $1,000 pricetag is "pretty reasonable" in the context of modern drug pricing, the analyst said. Gilead has pledged it will donate its current supply of remdesivir, which amounts to about 140,000 treatment courses. CEO Daniel O'Day said Sunday the drug should start reaching patients within the next few days. Remdesivir is given as a 10-day IV infusion and has only been tested in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The company is also researching ways to administer the drug subcutaneously or through inhalation but has not provided any timetables on those efforts. Read more: Coronavirus researchers are crafting drug cocktails with Gilead's antiviral remdesivir, tapping the HIV playbook to fight the coronavirusJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 4 potential coronavirus treatments that researchers are working on right now
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Results of major trial described as sobering, with drug found not to improve survival ratesCoronavirus –...Results of major trial described as sobering, with drug found not to improve survival ratesCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageRemdesivir, one of the big treatment hopes for Covid-19, has very little effect on preventing deaths, according to a large and comprehensive trial run by the World Health Organization.The drug, made by the US biotech firm Gilead, has been talked up as a potential cure and was taken by Donald Trump. A trial in the US had previously showed it reduced the length of stay in hospital. But the gold-standard Solidarity WHO trial, which was based on a far larger sample – 3,000 people on the drug, compared with as many who were not – showed remdesivir had little effect on deaths over 28 days. Continue reading...
Activists accuse company of pushing remdesivir to boost profitGS-441524 has been used to treat a coronavirus...Activists accuse company of pushing remdesivir to boost profitGS-441524 has been used to treat a coronavirus in catsCoronavirus – latest global updatesActivists are calling on the pharmaceutical firm Gilead Sciences to study a drug for the treatment of Covid-19 that showed promise in curing cats of a coronavirus.The drug, called GS-441524, is chemically related to remdesivir, an antiviral also made by Gilead, and one of the only treatments to successfully shorten the duration of Covid-19 recovery. Continue reading...
Drugs that prevent and treat the coronavirus are critical to stemming the pandemic. Here are the most promising treatments that could be ready by the fall.
Drugmakers are racing to find effective treatments and vaccines to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus...Drugmakers are racing to find effective treatments and vaccines to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. While early vaccine research has been promising, in the absence of a highly effective vaccine, additional medications are needed to prevent and treat the virus. Among those in the works are antivirals, as well as treatments that harness the body's immune system to go after the virus. Repurposed drugs like remdesivir have already been cleared for emergency use, while others like Regeneron's antibody treatment are looking to be available by the fall. For more stories like this, sign up here for our healthcare newsletter, Dispensed. Drugmakers are racing to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. As part of that, researchers are developing vaccines to prevent infections and repurposing existing medications to treat people with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Drug developers are also working on treatments to help fight the virus itself. While early vaccine results have been promising, in the absence of a highly effective vaccine, treatments that help people who get infected with the novel coronavirus will be key. For instance, influenza vaccine effectiveness can range from year to year, from relatively low effectiveness like 19% effective for the 2014-15 season to as much as 60% effectiveness in the 2010-11 season. When combating the flu, treatments like Tamiflu can be used to lessen symptoms and sometime act as a preventive measure. One repurposed medication aimed at treating coronavirus infections has already been approved for emergency use. Others, too, have proven useful in combating some of the severe symptoms brought on by COVID-19 that have led to tens of thousands of hospitalizations. A slate of newly created medications are also currently being tested, and some could be approved as soon as this fall. Read more: Drugmakers are racing to use existing medicines to fight the coronavirus. Here's what you need to know about the 14 most promising medications being put to the test. Drugmakers are repurposing antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19, and one has already been given emergency authorization Antivirals work by targeting the virus to keep it from replicating in the body, bringing on more symptoms. Antivirals are used to treat the flu, as well HIV. So far, one has been given emergency authorization: Gilead Sciences' remdesivir. Study results have shown that the drug helped hospitalized patients with COVID-19 recover faster than those receiving a placebo. The Food and Drug Administration on May 1 issued an emergency authorization for the drug's use. Remdesivir isn't the only repurposed antiviral being tested to treat COVID-19. Another is Avigan, an influenza treatment and broad-spectrum antiviral drug made by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical. It's not approved in the US. The drug has been approved for use in COVID-19 in Russia and India, but plans for its approval in Japan by May fell short because there wasn't enough evidence of how well it worked in treating the disease. Read more: Gilead built a biotech colossus by treating viruses like HIV and hepatitis C. Now, it stands to make billions from the first effective coronavirus treatment. Drugmakers are looking to have newly created drugs that prompt the body to fight the virus available by the fall Researchers are also exploring an approach that uses the body's immune reaction to viruses to lessen symptoms and potentially prevent people from getting sick in the first place. The approach uses the body's own disease-fighting proteins, called antibodies, as the basis for drugs. The hope with these treatments is to infuse the body with antibodies to fight the novel coronavirus, helping the body mount a better immune response. Trials are ongoing from drugmakers Regeneron, Eli Lilly, and Celltrion to see if the treatments work both to stave off infection as well as to treat COVID-19 patients with moderate or severe illness. Regeneron and Lilly are expecting results that make it clear whether or not the drugs work as soon as the fall. Read more: An antibody treatment might be our best shot at stopping the coronavirus if a vaccine doesn't work out. Here are the 9 leading programs, including 2 that are aiming to be ready this fall. Treatments based on plasma offer another solution One approach to treating coronavirus infections that's already in use is convalescent plasma. That uses the blood of those who have recovered from the illness — specifically the antibodies they produced — to fight the virus. It's a treatment has been around for decades. Trials testing the benefit of convalescent plasma in COVID-19 are ongoing, with some early results suggesting some benefit. Using convalescent plasma is constrained by blood donations. Drugmakers are also looking to make treatments based on more purified forms of plasma that can be used more widely. The product, known as hyperimmune globulin, is made when scientists purify the plasma to focus on a specific type of antibody called IgG. Takeda, Japan's largest pharmaceutical company, is working with a coalition of 10 drugmakers to develop the treatment. An international trial of hyperimmune globulin is expected to start in July and wrap up in the fall, with the hopes of getting approval by the end of 2020. Read more: Doctors are using the blood of coronavirus survivors to treat patients with the disease. 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