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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.

Go deeper

Oct 6, 2020 - Health

Doctor on Demand CEO: COVID has changed the telehealth industry

Doctor on Demand CEO Hill Ferguson. Photo: Axios.

The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented opportunities for growth
in the telehealth industry, including treating mental health and chronic conditions like diabetes, Hill Ferguson, the CEO of Doctor on Demand, told Axios at a virtual event on Tuesday.

What's changed: "Everything from reimbursements, paying providers for telemedicine in places where that wasn't possible, lowering interstate licensing laws that was prohibiting physicians from treating patients over interstate boundaries has been relaxed, patients are now aware of telemedicine at much higher rates than they were before," he said.

Aug 25, 2020 - Health

Hahn says criticism of his remarks on plasma treatment for coronavirus justified

FDA commissioner Stephen Hahnduring a press conference at the White House on Sunday. Photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images

FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a Twitter thread Monday night criticisms of his comments about granting an emergency use authorization (EUA) of convalescent plasma as a treatment for the coronavirus were "entirely justified."

The big picture: Hahn also addressed in his post the politicization of the FDA, in an apparent reference to President Trump and his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, accusing senior health officials of being part of the "Deep State" amid a decision to put the plasma treatment on hold.

White House physician says Trump reports no COVID-19 symptoms

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump was not experiencing coronavirus symptoms Tuesday and is doing "extremely well," according to a memo released by White House physician Sean Conley.

The state of play: Trump was discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday evening and returned to the White House to continue his treatment. Conley said in a briefing on Monday that while the president's condition is improving, he "may not be entirely out of the woods yet" and the next few days will be critical to the course of his recovery.