Story at a glance

  • More than 30 state attorneys general called on the federal government to exercise its rights under the Bayh-Dole Act to license remdesivir to third-party manufacturers to scale up production and make it more affordable.
  • The state AGs argue supply is too limited and the drug is too expensive.
  • The Trump administration struck an agreement with Gilead in June to secure 500,000 courses of the drug through September for American hospitals, buying nearly the entire global supply.

A bipartisan group of more than 30 state attorneys general is calling on the Trump administration to allow other companies to manufacture Gilead Sciences’ exclusive antiviral drug remdesivir, the only drug authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat COVID-19. 

In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the FDA, the coalition of state attorneys general called on the federal government to exercise its rights under the Bayh-Dole Act to license remdesivir to third-party manufacturers to scale up production and make it more affordable. 


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“Its supply is dangerously limited and its recent announcement of high prices for all patients, governments, and insurers will impede access to treatment in the U.S. and further strain state budgets,” the group led by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said in the letter. 

“Therefore, we respectfully urge the federal government to exercise its rights under the Bayh-Dole Act, which will allow the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the FDA to ensure that Americans can afford and access a sufficient supply of remdesivir during this pandemic,” the letter said. 

The drug has been shown to help moderately ill COVID-19 patients recover more quickly from the disease and was granted temporary approval for coronavirus patients by the FDA in early May. 

The Trump administration struck an agreement with Gilead in June to secure 500,000 courses of the drug through September for American hospitals, buying nearly the entire global supply. Gilead agreed to provide 100 percent of its supply for July to the U.S. and 90 percent of its supply produced in August and September. 

The drugmaker is charging $520 per vial in the U.S., or $3,120 per treatment course. 

“We think it is clear that Gilead has not established a reasonable price, nor has it met the health and safety needs of the public given the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter from state attorneys general said.

Published on Aug 04, 2020