Hospitalized coronavirus patients are "unlikely" to bear the cost of treatment drug remdesivir because of how the federal government is allocating the medicine, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday.
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"The patient is very unlikely to bear the cost of this, given that it is an in-patient drug," Azar told "Mornings with Maria." "You're in the hospital, the hospital is getting a payment for your in-patient visit. They buy that drug and supply that to you out of their pocket, and if it delivers this one-third shorter hospital stay that is shown in the data, then that might actually be a beneficial financial move."
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Gilead Sciences, the California-based company that developed remdesivir, announced Monday that it will charge U.S. hospitals $3,120 for a patient with commercial insurance who needs the shorter treatment course. That price drops to $2,340 for a patient with government insurance.
"We secured the donation of over 140,000 treatment courses in May and June, and we worked with states to get that distributed where it’s needed most," Azar said. "Now Gilead is launching the product in the commercial marketplace."
President Trump has secured the commitment of half a million courses of remdesivir for the U.S. over the next three months, Azar said. The drug will be distributed to states, which will distribute it to hospitals, he said.