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COVID-19 drug remdesivir priced at $390 per vial for some patients, $520 for others

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Here’s how an unapproved drug like remdesivir, used in COVID-19 treatments, is legal, even if it’s unapproved by the FDA with unknown results.

USA TODAY

Drug company Gilead Sciences has announced a pricing plan for the COVID-19 treatment remdesivir: $390 per vial.

The company said on Monday that the price is set for all governments of developed countries, including the U.S. Most patients would need a 5-day dose of six total vails, which equates to $2,340 per person.

However, that price does not include those covered by privatized medical insurance. 

Privatized companies will pay $520 per vial, or $3,120 per treatment course, according to the open letter. Medicare and Medicaid aren’t direct purchasers of the medication, so those plans also don’t qualify for the lower price, the company told CNN Health. 

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In May, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of remdesivir for the treatment of hospitalized patients struck ill by COVID-19. And in early trials, it shortened the hospital stay of those infected with the respiratory illness by four days.

That shaves $12,000 off the average related medical bill, Gilead said. 

Even though the treatment has shown promise, the potential price has been top of mind for Americans who can face high medical bills even under adequate health insurance plans. 

“There is no playbook for how to price a new medicine in a pandemic,” Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day wrote in the letter explaining the price. “We are aware of the significant responsibility that comes with pricing remdesivir, and the need to be transparent on our decision.”

The treatment in the United States will be managed by the Department of Health and Human Services through September. The agency will allocate the drug to hospitals during that time. 

Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/06/30/coronavirus-drug-remdesivir-gets-price-tag/3284050001/

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