Eleven state treasurers call on drug maker of Remdesivir to lower price amid COVID-19 pandemic

A five day dose can cost more than $3,000, but studies show it only costs $1 per vial to produce.

Friday, September 18, 2020
State treasurers call on drug makers to lower price of Remdesivir
Eleven state treasurers are calling on the makers of Remdesivir, a promising COVID-19 treatment, to lower the price of the drug.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Eleven state treasurers, including Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella, are calling on the makers of Remdesivir, a promising COVID-19 treatment, to lower the price of the drug.

Early this summer, the drug was found to help speed up recovery for some patients battling COVID-19 in the hospital. The FDA granted emergency use authorization, but then the company set the price and it is sparking outrage.

This letter was sent from almost a dozen state treasurers to the CEO of Gilead Sciences. It's calling on the company to lower the price of Remdesivir.

For a five day dose, which is the standard, it can cost more than $3,000 dollars. The drug is not new. It wasn't developed in response to the pandemic and it was partially funded by taxpayers.

Mr. Torsella says studies show the cost of making the drug is about $1 per vial. He hopes the company will re-price the drug responsibly.

"People in institutions are stepping up right and left and what we want Gilead to do is step up and say there are more important things than accumulating an outrageous short term profit when Pennsylvania and the country are being gripped by a pandemic. We're worried about the health of our loved ones and the it's looking like the economic cost of this is going to last a long time," said Torsella.

Gilead Sciences did donate 120,000 doses and the letter recognizes that, but says it shouldn't make a difference when setting the price moving forward.

Gilead Sciences provided this statement to 6abc:

"We are disappointed by the mischaracterization of the development and pricing of Veklury(r) (remdesivir) in the letter received yesterday from a group of U.S. State Treasurers. Gilead took a thoughtful approach to pricing Veklury during this pandemic. Clinical data demonstrates that patients taking Veklury recover four days faster than those taking placebo, and Veklury costs less than a one-day hospital stay, resulting in immediate savings to the healthcare system. We have set a price for Veklury that is significantly below the value it provides to healthcare systems and patients, and in a way that will facilitate patients' rapid access to the drug."