America Buys Virtually All Of The World's Supply Of Key Coronavirus Drug

America Buys Virtually All Of The World's Supply Of Key Coronavirus Drug

The drug was manufactured at a cost of under $10 and was done so using taxpayer money but Gilead plans to sell it for more than $2,400

The United States has virtually bought all the stocks of a key drug that helps reduce the recovery time of patients who have contracted the coronavirus. Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug that originally developed to fight Ebola, has been approved for use by treating coronavirus in America and the UK. The drug was approved for use to combat coronavirus after trials showed it could cut recovery time by around four days, reports CNN. The United States confirmed that it had secured more than 500,000 courses of the drug, which is produced by US pharmaceutical firm Gilead. This matches with almost all of the projected production of the drug by Gilead. 



The company production of Remdesivir matched their projected targets for July (94,200 courses), 90 percent of production in August (174,900 courses), and 90 percent of production in September (232,800 courses). The US government announced that the deal made with Gilead to ensure every American patient gets it. "President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorized therapeutic for Coronavirus," said health secretary Alex Azar, in a statement. "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 Coronavirus and secure access to these options for the American people."



In May, the United Nations announced an $8.1 billion program to make safe, affordable, and universal coronavirus vaccines and medicines accessible to the world. Secretary-general Antonio Guterres said it was important that the treatments be affordable, and "available for everyone, everywhere." Given the health crisis and the capitalism-driven world that we live in, it remains to be seen if drug companies don't make a killing at the expense of lives.



Oxford University’s Professor Peter Horby, chair of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) said it raises the question of ethics. "It does raise two very important questions: what is a fair price for a drug, and what is fair access to a drug, and those are common issues but are particularly important in a global crisis like this," Professor Peter Horby told BBC Radio 4. "That’s part of the fair access question ― the trial that gave the result that allowed Remdesivir to sell their drug wasn’t just done in the U.S. There were patients participating through other European countries, in the U.K. as well, and internationally ― Mexico and other places." He questioned if those who had subjected themselves for the trial would be ok with it if the drug wasn't made available in their respective countries. Gilead confirmed the drug would be priced at $2,340 for a typical treatment course for people in the US and other developed countries. According to a study, the drug costs just $10 dollars to manufacture. Not to mention that taxpayers coughed up $70,000,000 to develop the drug that the Gilead is now selling it back to the people for exorbitant prices. 



At a time when it's imperative that life-saving drugs be made accessible to all, the United States is acting like a bully and cornering the drugs. It's not the first time the Trump administration has pulled strings to buy out drugs that could help fight coronavirus. America was slammed in March for trying to secure exclusive access to a supposed coronavirus vaccine by paying "large sums of money" to a German company.



US officials rejected the story published by the German newspaper. One US official claimed that the government was in talks with over 25 companies that were researching vaccines for the virus, according to The New York Times. "This story is wildly overplayed ... We will continue to talk to any company that claims to be able to help. And any solution found would be shared with the world," said the US government official. 

The German confirmed it was holding talks to ensure the vaccine isn't given exclusively to the US. "The German government is very interested in ensuring that vaccines and active substances against the new coronavirus are also developed in Germany and Europe. In this regard, the government is in intensive exchange with the company CureVac," said a spokeswoman for the German government.

Disclaimer: Information about the pandemic is swiftly changing, and Shared is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. Therefore, we encourage you to also regularly check online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.


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