June 29 (UPI) -- U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences said Monday it will charge $2,340 per treatment for its experimental drug remdesivir, which has been shown to reduce the time needed for a patient to recover from COVID-19.
That price is for those covered by government programs like Medicaid, the company said. For U.S. patients who have private insurance, the price will be $3,120 per course of treatment, the company announced Monday.
A typical course of treatment includes six vials of remdesivir administered over a five-day period.
Gilead Chairman & CEO Daniel O'Day said Gilead is pricing remdesivir "well below" its true value "to ensure broad and equitable access at a time of urgent global need."
"In making our decision on how to price remdesivir, we considered the full scope of our responsibilities," he said. "We started with our immediate responsibility to ensure price is in no way a hindrance to ensuring rapid and broad treatment.
"We also balanced that with our longer-term responsibilities: to continue with our ongoing work on remdesivir, to maintain our long-term research in antivirals and to invest in scientific innovation that might help generations to come."
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, an independent nonprofit health analysis group, determined last week that a fair price for remdesivir should not exceed $2,800.
Out-of-pocket costs for patients will depend on their insurance coverage.
The drug, an antiviral developed to treat viruses including Ebola, was shown in April to be effective against COVID-19 in study conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It found the drug reduced the median time it took a patient to recover from 15 days to 11 days with a 10-day course of treatment.
Mortality was also reduced from around 12 percent in a placebo group to 7.1 percent for those receiving the drug.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced last month it will allow allow emergency use of remdesivir for COVID-19 patients.
Gilead said it has struck an agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services in which the agency and U.S. states will continue to control the allocations of remdesivir to hospitals through the end of September.