Ouch! Price tag for remdesivir treatment unveiled!

29 June 2020, Egypt, Giza: An employee of Egyptian pharmaceutical company Eva Pharma holds a pack containing vials of Remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral medication approved as a specific treatment for COVID-19, at the company's factory, which started producing the drug this week with a production capacity of up to 1.5 million doses per month. Photo by: Fadel Dawood/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

TAIPEI (The China Post) — “Remdesivir,” the antiviral drug used in treating patients infected by the coronavirus, will cost roughly NT$70,000 to NT$90,000 (US$2,340 to $3,120) per treatment, the American biopharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences, said on Monday.

“As with all our actions on remdesivir, we approached this with the aim of helping as many patients as possible, as quickly as possible and in the most responsible way,” Daniel O’Day, Gilead Sciences chairman and CEO said. 

“Whether you’re covered by a private insurer, whether you’re covered by a government insurer, whether you’re uninsured with COVID-19, there will not be an issue for access with remdesivir,” O’Day added.

According to the company, U.S. patients insured by private companies will need to pay roughly NT$15,313 (US$520) per vial, which equates to near NT$91,902 (US$3,120) per patient for a five-day treatment course of six vials. 

On the other hand, U.S. patients under the U.S. government healthcare programs will need to spend NT$11,488 (US$390) per vial, which amounts to NT$68,927 (US$2,340) for six vials. 

Remdesivir is currently the only drug that has an emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat COVID-19 patients. The drug is administered intravenously through infusions and helps accelerate the recovery time for infected patients. 

While supplies are constrained, Gilead Sciences will collaborate with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)  to manage the allocation of remdesivir to American hospitals.