Still, remdesivir in its now formulation, is only being used on patients sick enough to require hospitalization as a five-day treatment course.
Now some are questioning how affordable the drug really is. The company previously announced it had entered into agreements with generic drug makers to produce the drugs for developing countries.
Highlighted that "Gilead has made a decision to price below value to ensure access and global need and remove the country-by-country negotiation".
In one scenario, the drug could cost up to $5,080 per treatment course if it significantly reduces mortality, according to The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review.
Peter Bach, director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, told STAT that remdesivir could lengthen some hospital stays, because patients may not be discharged until they get a full course.
"We believe this is generally in line with expectations, though below the original ICER estimate of $4,500 and some recent more bullish estimates; Gilead also appears to have done a more careful job articulating the rationale for pricing than in the past with HCV". Experts have said that Gilead would need to avoid the appearance of taking advantage of a health crisis for profits.
Just days after getting conditional approval for its coronavirus drug remdesivir in Europe, Gilead has announced pricing for the USA and other developed countries, charging different rates for the US federal government and private insurers.
The treatment courses that the company has donated to the United States and other countries will run out in about a week, and the prices will apply to the drug after that, O'Day said.
"While we don't pretend to be pricing experts, this range seems reasonable considering that the value of early discharge is $12,000 per the USA government (which could be increased based on the average four-day shortening of stay) and that Gilead is spending $1 billion on manufacturing by year-end".
The remaining doses of the 120,000 treatment courses from Gilead's initial donated product are being shipped on Monday to states and territories, and to the Department of Defense and the Indian Health Service, the senior HHS official said.
Three days later, the drug was granted emergency use authorisation (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In the U.S., Truvada costs between $1,600 and $2,000 a month - or $70 per daily pill - while other countries need only pay a couple of dollars a month, according to the outlet. "We priced it at the value, at the price that allows for access across the developed world".
In a Monday statement, Gilead said it would charge different prices for the drug if it was paid for by public or private insurance, arguing that its prices are justified by the enormous savings an earlier recovery from COVID-19 will provide.
"There is no playbook for how to price a new medicine in a pandemic", O'Day said in the letter.