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State treasurers to Gilead: Price remdesivir fairly

A bipartisan group of 11 state treasurers, led by Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella and Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague, yesterday asked Gilead to reconsider its pricing of remdesivir, the only antiviral drug authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to treat cases of COVID-19.

“Gilead has a responsibility to its customers, shareholders, and to the taxpayers not to take advantage of these heartbreaking circumstances,” said Torsella. “American taxpayers have already paid the price. They deserve an affordable treatment when loved ones face the most severe cases of COVID-19. I urge Gilead to be a part of our nation’s recovery by putting patients first and pricing remdesivir fairly.”
In a letter, the state treasurers highlighted the opportunistic approach taken by Gilead to price remdesivir hundreds of times the cost of its production, during a pandemic.

“In these challenging times, we must keep our focus on doing what’s right for the health and safety of all Americans,” said Sprague. “It’s important that Gilead brings forward affordable solutions to Americans as our country continues to fight COVID-19. We’re all in this together.”

As noted in the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s (ICER) cost recovery estimates, a Journal of Virus Eradication study calculated that it costs Gilead approximately $1 to produce a vial of remdesivir, yet the pharmaceutical manufacturer has priced the drug at $520 per vial, or $3,120 per treatment course, for patients with private insurance in the U.S., and $390 per vial, or $2,340 per treatment course, for patients with government insurance.

In a clinical study sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, remdesivir was found to be effective at modestly shortening recovery time by four days, on average, but did not reduce fatalities. The development of remdesivir was funded by at least $70 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars beginning in 2015, initially as an antiviral drug against Ebola.

Treasurers Torsella and Sprague are joined by: Zach Conine, Nevada state treasurer; Henry E. M. Beck, Maine state treasurer; Michael L. Fitzgerald, Iowa state treasurer; Tobias Read, Oregon state treasurer; Dave Young, Colorado state treasurer; Sarah Godlewski, Wisconsin state treasurer; Glenn Hegar, Texas comptroller of public accounts; Deborah B. Goldberg, Massachusetts state treasurer; Seth Magaziner, Rhode Island state treasurer.

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