Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gilead will charge U.S. hospitals $3,120 for the shortest treatment course of its coronavirus drug remdesivir for typical patients with private insurance, according to an open letter from CEO Daniel O’Day.

Why it matters: It is the first antiviral drug shown to effectively treat coronavirus in a major clinical trial, and Gilead's pricing decision may set the bar for how future treatments will be priced.

  • Its benefits remain rather limited, as patients on the drug leave the hospital in 11 days versus 15 days.
  • It also did not lead to a statistically significant drop in deaths.

By the numbers: Gilead will charge two prices for the drug in the U.S. — one for patients with private insurance and a second, lower price for government health agencies like the Department of Veterans Affairs. The lower price will not be extended to government programs that do not directly purchase medicines, like Medicare

  • The government price will be $390 per dose, or $2,340 per patient for the shortest treatment course of five days and $4,290 for a longer treatment course of 10 days.
  • Nongovernment buyers will pay around $520 per dose — about a third more than the government price — for patients with private insurance, or approximately $3,120 for the shorter treatment and $5,720 for the longer treatment.
  • O’Day told the Wall Street Journal that 90% to 95% of patients currently receive the shorter, five-day treatment course.

The big picture: Gilead will only charge two separate prices in the U.S. It will charge the government price in other developed nations with public insurance programs.

  • "Part of the intent behind our decision was to remove the need for country by country negotiations on price. We discounted the price to a level that is affordable for developed countries with the lowest purchasing power," O'Day said.

Worth noting: Estimates from experts at the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review said last week that the cost of a course of remdesivir should not exceed $2,800.

Go deeper: Wall Street forecasts blockbuster sales for Gilead's coronavirus drug remdesivir

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the lower price will be extended to government agencies, but not programs like Medicare that don’t directly purchase medicines.

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Sep 18, 2020 - Health

CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people

CDC director Robert Redfield testifies at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Sept. 16. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its previously revised guidance for coronavirus testing on Friday to say that testing asymptomatic people who were exposed to COVID-19 is recommended for treatment and contact tracing.

Why it matters: The CDC's modification in August to recommend against testing for asymptomatic people was not written by scientists and posted despite their "serious objections," New York Times first reported. CNN confirmed that the agency's update was published outside the agency's "normal review process."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 30,782,337 — Total deaths: 957,037— Total recoveries: 21,032,539Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,764,962 — Total deaths: 199,258 — Total recoveries: 2,577,446 — Total tests: 94,211,463Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19.
  5. World: Guatemalan president tests positive for COVID-19 — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

Rep. Brooks: We need to better prepare for pandemics

Axios' Margaret Talev (L) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R). Photo: Axios

Insufficient stockpiles and a lack of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a warning for America on future preparedness, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "Congress had been beefing up for years — the appropriations for preparedness — it certainly was not enough, and we recognize that," Brooks said.