HealthDay News — Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir, the first drug that showed promise in treating COVID-19 infections, will charge US hospitals $3120 for a patient with private insurance, the company announced Monday.

Because of how the US health care system is designed and the discounts that government health care programs like the VA and Medicaid will expect, the price for private insurance companies will be $520 per vial, Gilead Sciences explained in a letter. Most COVID-19 patients would need 6 vials of the drug over 5 days, the company said. A lower price — $390 per vial — will be offered to other governments in developed countries around the world, Gilead added.

Multiple international trials of remdesivir are ongoing, and an inhaled version of the intravenous drug that could be taken outside a hospital setting is also being tested, the company said. In the developing world, Gilead made agreements with generic manufacturers to produce remdesivir at a significantly lower cost, Gilead Chairman and CEO Daniel O’Day said in an open letter from the company.

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In the United States, the price of remdesivir, government programs, and additional Gilead assistance when needed should mean that all patients have access to the drug, O’Day said. The company has an agreement with the US Department of Health and Human Services whereby HHS and states will continue to manage allocation of the drug to hospitals until the end of September. After that, supplies of the drug are expected to increase and HHS will no longer manage allocation.

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