The U.S. has bought up almost all of the world’s supply of remdesivir, one of only two drugs shown to work against the new coronavirus.
Remdesivir, which was developed to treat Ebola, is produced almost exclusively by US pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences – and it has been priced at $2,340 (£1,892) per patient in wealthier nations.
The company has agreed to send nearly all of its supply of the drug to the US over the next three months.
Trump’s administration has bought the next 500,000 doses of the anti-viral drug, Remdesvir, from manufacturer Gilead, a figure that represents Gilead’s entire production for July, and 90% of all the drug that the company will produce throughout August and September.
At first, 140,000 doses of the drug was delivered to countries all over the world for trials and it was during this time the drug’s success rate in treating patients was discovered.
White House immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci in April said remdesivir cannot cure or prevent Covid-19, but hospitalized patients given the drug were found to recover 31% faster than those who weren’t given the drug.
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, praised the US buy saying:
‘President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorized therapeutic for Covid-19.
‘To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it. The Trump administration is doing everything in our power to learn more about life-saving therapeutics for Covid-19 and secure access to these options for the American people.’
UK doctor and scientist, Dr Andrew Hill from the University of Liverpool reacting to the US’ hoarding of the drug told The Guardian: ‘They’ve got access to most of the drug supply (of remdesivir), so there’s nothing for Europe.’
“Remdesivir is under Gilead’s patent, meaning no other drug company can manufacture its own supplies.”