May 3, 2020 - Health

Gilead CEO says remdesivir has been donated to treat "most urgent" patients

Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O'Day said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday that the company has donated its entire supply of the antiviral medication remdesivir to the federal government, which will determine which U.S. cities will receive the drug based on "urgent" need.

Why it matters: The FDA last week granted emergency use of remdesivir to treat coronavirus patients, but it has not granted official regulatory approval. Preliminary data indicates that the drug can help patients recover from the coronavirus more quickly than no treatment, but it does not significantly reduce death.

What they're saying: "We are grateful and really humbled that everything has moved so quickly," O'Day said. "It's only been three months since the first case was diagnosed in the United States to the emergency use authorization that was provided this past Friday. That's thanks to a lot of patients and caregivers that participate in our clinical trials."

  • "We are now firmly focused on getting this medicine to the most urgent patients around the country. We intend to get that to patients in the early part of this next week."

The big picture: O'Day said the federal government will decide which areas of the country need the drug most based on the number of ICU beds and "where the course of the epidemic is in the United States."

  • "[The federal government] will begin shipping tens of thousands of treatment courses out early this week and will be adjusting that as the epidemic shifts and evolves in different cities," he added.

Go deeper: Why Gilead's coronavirus drug is not a "silver bullet"

Go deeper