Statement of Peter Maybarduk, Access to Medicines Director, Public Citizen
Note: The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) Friday announced two pricing models for remdesivir, marketed by Gilead Sciences as a treatment for COVID-19. While ICER’s cost effectiveness model suggests a price of $4500, the cost recovery model suggests a price of $1 per day. Researchers at the University of Liverpool have calculated that $0.93 per dose is the cost of manufacturing remdesivir at scale with a reasonable profit. The public has contributed at least $60 million to remdesivir’s development through federal grants and clinical trials. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for remdesivir on Friday, and the federal government is expected to begin shipping the drug across the country this week.
Remdesivir should be $1 per day. That is more than the cost of manufacturing at scale with a reasonable profit to Gilead.
Gilead initially developed remdesivir as one of several candidate treatments for hepatitis C and has made tens of billions off its successful hepatitis C drugs. What is relevant now are Gildead’s costs and the public’s many investments in repurposing remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19.
If Gilead intends to price remdesivir at more than $1 per day, Gilead must fully disclose its research and development costs and all public contributions associated with remdesivir’s development. Then payers and independent experts can analyze again what constitutes fair pricing in a pandemic.
Gilead should commit its patents and know-how to the public domain so that researchers around the world can help bring manufacturing to scale.