U.S. buys up global supply of Covid-19 drug Remdesivir

S. Korea begins using remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment

S.Korea says to begin talks to purchase COVID-19 drug remdesivir in August

The Trump administration has bought up virtually all stocks for the next three months of a drug shown to work against Covid-19.

U.S. authorities secured more than 500,000 treatment courses of the drug through September, which "represents 100 per cent of Gilead's projected production for July (94,200 treatment courses), 90 per cent of production in August (174,900 treatment courses), and 90 per cent of production in September (232,800 treatment courses)", the HHS said in a statement. A domestic panel of experts has found that anti-viral drugs like remdesivir are more effective if given in the early stages of the disease, she added.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said the medication developed by USA pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences Inc. will be used for COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms.

The trial study, the first clinical trial launched in the United States to evaluate an experimental treatment for COVID-19, was conducted on a total of 1,063 patients.

"Patients who are eligible for remdesivir are limited to severe patients with pneumonia and in need of oxygen therapy", the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It does raise two very important questions: what is a fair price for a drug, and what is fair access to a drug, and those are common issues but are particularly important in a global crisis like this".

For US patients with commercial insurance, Gilead said it will charge $3,120 for a five-day treatment course.

The company is developing an inhaled version that could be used outside a hospital setting.

This will make the drug unavailable to Europe and most of the rest of the world.

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