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COVID-19 drug, Remdesivir, could cost N906,750 for a five – day dosage, says manufacturer

GILEAD Sciences Inc, drugmaker of Remdesivir, touted as Covid-19 drug, announced that the United States, US, and other developed countries will pay a stipulated $2,340 for a short course treatment for a regular patient.

Revealing its pricing plans, the drug company which is set to put the coronavirus fighting drugs on the shelves in July, stated its official government price is pegged at $390 per dose in the US and other developed nations.

Its shortest treatment course which is expected to last for five days would cost $2,340 per patient equivalent of N906,750 in Nigeria.

The drug manufacturer anticipates that a longer treatment course for 14 days would cost $4,290 which is about N1,662,375, expecting to have more than one million treatment courses available by the end of the year.

Daniel O’Day, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gilead Inc said the intention of the drug company was to enable governments to negotiate prices directly.

“The logic is that we wanted a single government price around the developed world. This medicine is priced far below the value it brings to health-care systems and that’s true for private payers and government payers,” he said.

However, the company did not indicate its charge for governments in less advanced countries like Nigeria for the drug which has won acclaim from health officials but is yet to gain final approval for commercial sale.

Remdesivir, an antiviral drug dispensed intravenously and previously tested as a treatment for Ebola, is among the experimental treatments for COVID-19 and is being studied in multiple clinical trials around the world.

The drug was found to hasten recovery of COVID-19 by about four days in hospitalised patients during clinical trials as it is currently used on compassionate grounds in the US and other countries.

Gilead is expected to manufacture 1.5 million doses by the end of May, to make up for over 210,000 treatment courses, if most patients will be treated for five days, and more than one million treatment courses by the end of this year.

The company had pledged to donate 1.5 million doses to hospitals free of charge but declined to say how much it will charge for Remdesivir it began manufacture in June. Some of the donated supply will be distributed internationally.

Nigeria has carried out about 130,000 coronavirus tests with 24,567 confirmed cases which indicates a test positivity rate of 19 per cent across the rest of the country but Lagos State with a majority of cases has a test positivity rate of 27.1 per cent.

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