How much will remdesivir cost? Experts say even $10 may be too much for ...

Experts say even $10 is too much for the US-made antiviral drug approved to treat the novel coronavirus.

Gilead Sciences' medication, remdesivir, was shown to help reduce patients' hospital stays over a placebo, in a clinical trial run by the National Institutes of Health.

Last week, it became the first drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat COVID-19 patients under emergency use authorization. 

The California-based pharmaceutical company has a past of exorbitant drug pricing, drawing intense scrutiny from the public - and raising questions about patients that might not be able to afford access.

One research group says Gilead could charge anywhere from $10 for a treatment course to $4,500 depending on the cost-effectiveness of the drug. 

But consumer advocates that a very high price would be draw intense scruitny and lead to the public accusing Gillead of profiting off the virus that has killed more than 74,000 Americans.  

Gilead has not revealed how much its antiviral drug, remdesivir (pictured), which is approved by the FDA to treat coronavirus will cost

Gilead has not revealed how much its antiviral drug, remdesivir (pictured), which is approved by the FDA to treat coronavirus will cost

The California-based company (pictured) drew intense public scrutiny when it priced its hepatitis C treatment at $1,000 per pill

The California-based company (pictured) drew intense public scrutiny when it priced its hepatitis C treatment at $1,000 per pill

A report estimated that it costs $9.32 to manufacture one 10-day course of remdesivir treatment. Pictured: Medical workers take in patients outside a special coronavirus area at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, May 6

A report estimated that it costs $9.32 to manufacture one 10-day course of remdesivir treatment. Pictured: Medical workers take in patients outside a special coronavirus area at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, May 6

A decision on a price tag isn't only important on its own, but it will likely influence the pricing for all future coronavirus treatments.

So far, Gilead's CEO Daniel O'Day has avoided answering any questions about what remdesivir will cost.

'I'm not suggesting that there won't continue to be focus and pressure on drug pricing...but it's being done now in a way where we can have an appreciation for the innovation the industry brings,' he said on recent conference call with investors.

The company plans to donate the drug supply it has so far, which would treat about 140,000 patients, and says it won't consider a price until more data coming in.  

WHAT IS REMDESIVIR AND DOES IT WORK AGAINST CORONAVIRUS? 

Remdesivir was developed by Gilead Sciences to treat Ebola, the deadly hemorrhagic fever that emerged in West Africa in 2014.

Ebola, like COVID-19, is caused by a virus, and scientists are now testing remdesivir to treat coronavirus patients, but it's too soon to know if the drug works or not.

Trials produced encouraging results earlier this year when it showed promise for both preventing and treating MERS - another coronavirus - in macaque monkeys.

The drug appears to help stop the replication of viruses like coronavirus and Ebola alike.

It's not entirely clear how the drug accomplishes this feat, but it seems to stop the genetic material of the virus, RNA, from being

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