US Corners the COVID-19 Medication Market

HHS secured 500,000 remdesivir treatment courses for American hospitals

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced an agreement to secure significantly large supplies of the drug remdesivir for use by American hospitals.

Remdesivir has been found to reduce recovery time for hospitalized COVID-19 disease patients from 15 to 11 days.

According to the HHS press statement published on June 29, 2020, HHS has secured more than 500,000 treatment courses of the drug for American hospitals through September 2020. 

This represents 100 percent of Gilead’s projected production for July (94,200 treatment courses), 90 percent of production in August (174,900 treatment courses), and 90 percent of production in September (232,800 treatment courses).

A treatment course of remdesivir is, on average, 6.25 vials

Hospitals will pay no more than Gilead’s Wholesale Acquisition Price (WAC), which amounts to approximately $3,200 per treatment course. 

Generally, patients do not pay directly for hospital-administered drugs like remdesivir; rather, for Medicare and most private insurers, the drug’s cost is incorporated into payments made by the insurer.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar stated in a press release: “To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it.”

“The US administration is doing everything in our power to learn more about life-saving therapeutics for COVID-19 disease and secure access to these options for the American people.”

HHS allocates product to state and territorial health departments based on COVID-19 hospital burden, and health departments allocate it to hospitals. 

The delivery of the purchased remdesivir will be streamlined, going directly to the hospital, per the state’s allocation decision, rather than going first to the state health departments for subsequent delivery to hospitals.

This announcement has not been received well by international media

Euronews reported on June 1, 2020, the HHS announcement implies European health authorities may not be able to acquire any supplies of remdesivir until the autumn.

The anti-viral drug patented by the US-based Gilead is the only one approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to treat patients with severe COVID-19 disease.

Euronews has contacted EMA and the European Commission for comment.

Gilead Science's Remdesivir is a nucleotide analog with broad-spectrum antiviral activity both in vitro and in vivo in animal models against multiple emerging viral pathogens.

As of May 1, 2020, remdesivir had been issued an Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. FDA.

And, the FDA authorized the use of remdesivir to treat hospitalized adult and pediatric patients with suspected or laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 disease.

Precision Vaccinations publishes COVID-19 disease treatment news.