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Government Should End Monopoly Control of Remdesivir

Statement of Peter Maybarduk, Director, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program

Note: A bipartisan group of 34 state attorneys general sent a letter today asking the federal government to authorize generic competition for remdesivir, in order to mitigate drug shortages and lower prices. Public Citizen found that taxpayers have invested a minimum of $70.5 million in remdesivir’s development and has contended that Gilead should price the treatment at no more than $1 per day.

Gilead’s monopoly control of remdesivir leads to shortages and rationing and keeps prices high. Taxpayers funded remdesivir’s development from the drug’s early days. Generic competition would help expand supply and ensure reasonable pricing. The federal government – we the people, that is – appears to co-own remdesivir’s core patents. Remdesivir should be in the public domain.

While remdesivir is no kind of pandemic panacea, still hospitals should be able to rely on a robust, affordable supply and make choices according to medical need.