The US Department for Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on July 1 that it will be buying up virtually the entire stock of Gilead’s remdesivir drug, which has been found to be effective against COVID-19, till September.
This follows the company’s announcement that it would be sending nearly all of its supply of the drug to the United States over the next three months.
The HHS, in a press release, said it has secured nearly 500,000 remdesivir courses for hospitals in the United States through September, according to a report by India Today.
That is all of Gilead’s expected production for July and 90 percent of its production for August and September, the HHS said. The move comes amid rising COVID-19 cases in the US, with several states reporting spikes in the number of cases.
Remdesivir is expected to be in high demand as one of the only treatments so far shown to alter the course of COVID-19. After the intravenously-administered medicine helped shorten hospital recovery times in a clinical trial, it won emergency use authorization in the United States and full approval in Japan.
This effectively means that there will be no stock left for the rest of the world in the coming months. This comes even as the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the world is nowhere near the end of pandemic, and in fact, the outbreak might get worse in the coming days.
Gilead had, on June 30, priced the drug at $2,340 per patient for wealthier nations, a price that patient advocates in the US have called “outrageous”, particularly since remdesivir was developed with financial support from the US government.