Gilead Sciences—which manufactures Remdesivir, the antiviral found to help hasten coronavirus patients’ recovery—is donating its entire Remdesivir stockpile to the government, said the biopharma company’s CEO in a Sunday interview on CBS.
WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 01: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence listens to Gilead Sciences Chairman and CEO … [+]
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The drug supply will be given to the federal government, which will then allocate it on a by-need basis across the country starting early next week, Gilead Sciences chairman and CEO Daniel O’Day said in the Sunday morning interview.
“We’ve donated the entire supply…because we acknowledge and recognize the human suffering..and want to make sure nothing gets in the way of this getting to patients,” said O’Day.
Though Remdesivir is not a coronavirus cure, in a study of 800 patients, the antiviral drug shortened the duration of hospital stay in users to 11 days on average, versus 15 days for COVID-19 patients who were not administered the drug.
Gilead says that 140,000-plus prescriptions will be available by the end of May, with 1 million available by 2020’s end.
The company has yet to share what it will charge for the drug, should it be approved long-term.
“This is really quite important,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci with a smile after Remdesivir’s promising clinical trials on Wednesday. “This will be the standard of care.”
The Food and Drug Administration gave Remdesivir emergency use authorization to treat COVID-19, meaning that it has not undergone the standard FDA vetting required of drugs on the market and it is only available for use by doctors in hospitals. In the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ 800-patient study on the drug, 50% of COVID-19 patients on the drug had shorter hospital stays than those who did not receive the drug. Also, patients who received the drug had an 8% mortality rate, compared to the 11.6% mortality rate for the non-Remdesivir group.
Foster City, California-headquartered Gilead Sciences develops and manufactures a slew of other medicines for HIV/AIDS, liver disease, hematology/oncology, inflammation and respiratory diseases, but perhaps the most common is Tamiflu, which is used to treat the common flu.