“This is great news. But based on Gilead’s record, we’re deeply concerned that they’ll use their monopoly control to price-gouge patients and make this potentially life-saving treatment unaffordable and inaccessible. Remdesivir was developed using tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, and should be made available at no additional cost. Congress and the Trump administration must require that COVID vaccines and treatments be affordable for all, before it’s too late.”
Background: Gilead has a history of gouging patients.
Gilead successfully used an FDA loophole to secure an extra-long monopoly for Remdesivir and special tax credits by claiming that COVID-19 was a ‘rare disease.’ Even though the FDA approved this patent extension, the public backlash was so swift and fierce that Gilead rescinded their application.
American taxpayers spent at least $60 million on the research and development of Remdesivir by the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control. And both the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization are sponsoring Remdesivir’s clinical trials.
Gilead has a long record of price gouging on drugs developed at taxpayer expense, including:
PrEP, the treatment regime that through extensive taxpayer funding by NIH has been shown to successfully prevent HIV/AIDS. And CDC studies have shown there are 1 million people (mostly people of color) who should be on PrEP who aren’t.
Sovaldi, the drug for Hepatitis C developed at Emory University and the Dept of Veterans Affairs. Gilead now has a monopoly, not because they developed the drug but because they bought another corporation that managed to get ownership of the public research.
Lower Drug Prices Now is a national coalition of nearly 60 social, racial and economic justice organizations with members in all fifty states. We are committed to transformative, systemic and bold reforms to ensure everyone has access to affordable medicines — no matter where they live, what they look like or how much money they have. Learn more at www.lowerdrugpricesnow.org and follow us on Twitter @peopleb4pharma.