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Stop COVID-19 treatment price gouging I READER COMMENTARY

Vials of the drug Remdesivir on display during a news conference about the start of a study with use of the drug in severely ill patients at the University Hospital Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany, on April 8, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Vials of the drug Remdesivir on display during a news conference about the start of a study with use of the drug in severely ill patients at the University Hospital Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany, on April 8, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic. (ULRICH PERREY/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS)

Gilead Sciences, the makers of the new coronavirus drug Remdesivir, announced the drug will cost $2,340 for a typical treatment, and even more for those with private insurance (”Coronavirus drug price ‘an outrage’: $2,340 for remdesivir, or even more for those with private insurance,” June 29). It has been shown that when Remdesivir is taken for five days, it may shorten recovery time for mild cases. Charging patients thousands of dollars for a modest treatment during this public health crisis is a clear case of price gouging.

Gilead says it will have spent $1 billion on developing the drug by year’s end, after receiving $70 million in public funding. However, the price of the drug is expected to bring over $1 billion in profit to the company by the end of 2021. Gilead is prioritizing a large profit over the accessibility of the only trial-backed drug developed during the pandemic.

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In March, the president issued Executive Order 13910. The order prohibits the hoarding and price gouging of items that Health and Human Services defines as critical. This includes medical and healthcare resources, but not specifically Remdesivir. Millions of people in America are unemployed right now. We’re seeing COVID-19 cases rise as we lift stay-at-home orders. Our federal government needs to do better. At the very least, we know they have the power to demand an affordable price.

Brenna Reagan, Silver Spring

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