U.S. Buys All Of July's Production Of Antiviral Drug Remdesivir

HHS says it's secured over 500,000 treatment courses of the drug, which has been shown to speed up COVID-19 recovery.

U.S. Buys All Of July's Production Of Antiviral Drug Remdesivir
Eric Risberg / AP

The U.S. has agreed to buy up nearly all of the antiviral drug remdesivir that is produced over the next three months.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday it had secured more than half a million treatment courses of the COVID-19 treatment drug. That's all of what's expected to be produced in July and 90% of the supply made in August and September.

There are concerns the deal could lead to a shortage in other countries that are also battling the pandemic.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement, "We want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it. The Trump administration is doing everything in our power to learn more about life-saving therapeutics for Covid-19 and secure access to these options for the American people.”

The Gilead drug was originally meant to treat Ebola patients, but it's one of two drugs that have been shown to speed up COVID-19 recovery. However, it's still unclear if it improves a patient's chance of survival.

The deal comes after the U.S. saw a record increase of 40,000 new daily coronavirus cases last week. Meanwhile, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he "would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day."

Fauci said: "So I'd have to say the numbers speak for themselves. I'm very concerned, and I'm not satisfied with what's going on because we're going in the wrong direction."

Gilead said it will charge private insurance companies $520 per vial. A five-day treatment plan with a double-dose on the first day puts the price tag for one treatment course at more than $3,000.

For Newsy, I'm Gage Jackson.