Gilead Puts a $3,120 Price Tag on Remdesivir

June 29, 2020

Company's price is lower than ICER's $50k per-QALY assessment.

Gilead is pricing remdesivir, its promising antiviral treatment for COVID-19, at $3,120 for the typical patient with commerial insurance.

The company announced this morning that it would charge a list price of $520 per vial to private insurers. A typical course includes six vials, the company said, so the total cost comes to $3,120.

The announcement — which was presented as a letter from the company's CEO and chairman, Daniel O'Day, on the company's website — says the Gilead will price vials for governments in developed countries at $390, so a six-vial course of treatment would total $2,340 for public payers.

Gilead's announced prices are lower than the price of $4,580-$5,080 that the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), an indepedent cost-effectiveness assessment organization in Boston, put on remdesivir last week in an updated cost-effectiveness assessment.

That ICER $4,580-$5,080 price range assumes, though, a mortality benefit from remdesivir and is predicated on a $50,000 per quality-adjusted life years (QALY) . If the drug does not have a mortality benefit, ICER's assessment would put the price at $310.

ICER also also calculated that a price based on Gilead's marginal costs would be $1,010-$1,600. That price range is built on the assumption that treatment lasts 10 days and that Gilead will have $1 billion worth of remdesivir-related R&D costs this year.

In his open letter, O'Day cited data showing that remdesivir shortens recovery time from serious COVID-19 illness by four days, which he said translates into $12,000 in hospital-care savings per patient. "We have decided to price remdesivir well below this value," says the O'Day letter.

O'Day says Gilead has entered into agreements with generic manufacturers to "deliver treatment at a substantially lower cost" in the developing world. Accordig to the ICER report, Beximco, a Bangladeshi company, has announced a remdesiver price range of $590-$710 for a 10-day course of remdesivir. Two generic manufacturers based in India, Hetero and Cipla, have announced a price in a similar range, according to ICER.