Antiviral remdesivir had been developed before the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, but was rather unsuccessful as a treatment for either Ebola or hepatitis C. Early on in the pandemic, remdesivir faced substantial controversy regarding its effectiveness. Now, it’s widely regarded as a tool to reduce the length of hospital stays. It’s also highly profitable—leading to an estimated sales of $2.8 billion in 2020. Despite its success in improving patient care, controversy remains over why taxpayers must pay so much for a drug that received taxpayer money to develop. It is estimated that the federal government invested $70 million into its development. ICER released updated pricing guidelines for the drug.
“They said the rags-to-riches story of remdesivir, a losing prospect turned blockbuster, holds lessons in how Americans end up paying more for medicine than anyone else in the world. Remdesivir used taxpayer dollars to be developed but, in a public health emergency, patients have no option but to pay whatever the pharmaceutical giant demands.” Read more here.
(Source: Sarah Jane Tribble, KHN.org, 1/27/21)