Gilead has not yet named a price for remdesivir yet. Photo: Liu Guanguan/China News Service via Getty Images

A fair price for Gilead's coronavirus drug, remdesivir, likely should not exceed $2,800 for a course of treatment, according to updated estimates from experts at the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review.

The bottom line: Gilead hasn't released a final price for remdesivir yet, and it could set the bar for other coronavirus treatments that come after it.

Details: ICER — which conducts cost-effectiveness analyses on drugs and other medical treatments — originally released remdesivir price estimates in May, but revised its figures as more information has come out:

  • $10 per treatment: Same low-end estimate assumes recovery of basic costs plus a small margin.
  • $310 per treatment: This price reflects the drug's current clinical benefit, which reduces hospitalization time but does not reduce the chance of death. (If the drug shows a mortality benefit later, this could go up to $5,000.)
  • $600 per treatment: Roughly what generic drug companies are charging for remdesivir overseas.
  • $1,600 per treatment: If Gilead tried to recoup new research costs.
  • $2,800 per treatment: This assumes dexamethasone becomes the new standard for hospitalized coronavirus patients, and "therefore the overall lives and life years saved with remdesivir are lower," ICER said.

Go deeper

Sep 20, 2020 - Health

Trump's health secretary asserts control over all new rules

HHS Secretary Alex Azar and President Donald Trump. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Heath and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar wrote a memo this week giving him authority over all new rules and banning any of the health agencies, including the FDA, from signing any new rules "regarding the nation’s foods, medicines, medical devices and other products," the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The story further underscores reporting that health and scientific agencies are undergoing a deep politicization as the Trump administration races to develop a coronavirus vaccine, as Axios' Caitlin Owens has reported. Peter Lurie, a former associate commissioner of the FDA, told the Times that the Azar memo amounted to a "power grab."

Updated Sep 20, 2020 - Health

7 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week

Data: Compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Seven states set new highs last week for coronavirus infections recorded in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project and state health departments. Wisconsin and Nebraska surpassed records set the previous week.

Why it matters: Problem spots are sticking in the Midwest, although the U.S. is moving in the right direction overall after massive infection spikes this summer.

Sep 20, 2020 - Health

Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure

The career scientists involved in the approval process will not be swayed by politics, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.

Why it matters: Gottlieb's comments come amid fears that the Trump administration has politicized the coronavirus response and is seeking rapid approval and distribution of a vaccine.

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